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Wisconsin’s climate can be unforgiving during the winter season. While most people would prefer to stay snuggled up on the couch, braving the cold and venturing out on the roads are often unavoidable. To ensure your safety on the road this winter, we’ve compiled seven essential tips for driving in these harsh conditions.

Safety Tips For Diving in Winter

  1. Safety First: If the roads are in poor condition due to heavy snowfall, especially if you’re inexperienced in driving in such conditions, it’s best to avoid driving altogether. Driving in deep snow can be dangerous, increasing the risk of getting stuck or sliding off the road. It’s always better to stay home or wait until the snowplows have cleared the roads.

2. Clear the Car of Snow & Ice: If you believe it is safe to venture out, your first step should be to clear all snow and ice from your car, including the roof, windows, and lights. This will help with full visibility while driving and prevent snow from flying off your vehicle and impacting other drivers. 

3. Avoid Sudden, Swift Movements: Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t speed up fast and make sure you give yourself time and space when slowing down for a stoplight. It takes much longer to slow down on icy roads.

4. You Cruise, You Lose: Avoid cruise control when driving on snowy roads. Cruise control can make it difficult to maintain traction on slippery roads and increase the risk of accidents. When you use cruise control, your vehicle maintains a constant speed, which can be problematic on slippery surfaces. If your tires lose traction on snow or ice, your cruise control may not detect the change in speed and may continue to apply power to the wheels, causing them to spin and lose control of the vehicle. Additionally, using cruise control can make it harder to slow down or stop suddenly in case of an emergency. 

5. Keep your distance:  Leave extra room between you and the car in front of you. This will give you more time to react and avoid collisions. Stay 200 feet behind snowplows.

6. Use Winter Tires: Winter tires provide better traction on snow and ice than all-season tires, so consider switching to them during the winter season. If you don’t have an all-wheel drive, be extra cautious. Adding weight to the trunk of your car can help improve traction on the rear wheels and prevent them from spinning on slippery surfaces. You can use sandbags or other heavy items to add weight to the trunk. 

7. Ensure that you are prepared: Here is a list of things you need to make sure that you are safe in your car. In case of emergency, you must have everything you will need to keep yourself safe and warm.
a. Full tank of gas
b. Ice Scraper
c. Jumper cables
d. Flashlight
e. First Aid Kit
f. Cell Phone Charger
g. Boots, gloves and blankets
h. Water/Snacks

What To Do If You Are Stuck In Snow

It is advised to be prepared before heading out, but if you find yourself stuck in the snow or bad weather, here are a few tips to help you out:  

  • Stay With Your Vehicle: Your vehicle can give you shelter and makes it easier for people to find you. You don’t want to go walking in a storm as you may lose your way or sight of the car.   
  • Don’t Over Do It: Take breaks while digging out your vehicle so you don’t get too tired.
  • Try to find something bright in your car that you can tie to the antenna or roll up in your window to ensure you can be seen. Keep the dome light on if you can.   
  • Make Sure the Exhaust Pipe is Clear: Make sure the exhaust pipe is not full of snow, ice, or mud. If something blocks the exhaust pipe, the engine may release deadly carbon monoxide gas into the car while it’s running.
  • Keep Warm: Find whatever you can in your vehicle to insulate your body from the cold. It’s always a good idea to have blankets and heavy clothing in your car just in case.  
  • Conserve Fuel: If you can, only run the engine and heater long enough to remove the chill. 

If you would like more information, check out the Wisconsin DOT website

If you are a victim of someone else’s rash driving on the snow, contact the personal injury attorneys of Habush Habush & Rottier today at 800-242-2874 to speak with a qualified member of our legal team and discuss the details of your situation.