Winter Weather Driving Tips

Winter driving fact sheet

Even experienced drivers can find their nerves and skills tested by winter road conditions. 

Here are some tips to help you drive safely as the weather turns cold:

  • Before beginning your trip, know the current road conditions and weather forecast. For statewide highway information 24 hours a day, call 511 or go to 511virginia.org.

  • Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter:

    • Check your brakes and tires

    • Check your battery and ignition system

    • Check your antifreeze and thermostat

    • Check your windshield wipers and de-icing washer fluid

    • Check your headlights, tail and brake lights, blinkers and emergency flashers

    • Check your exhaust system, heater and defroster

    • Check your oil

    • Properly lubricate door locks that may be prone to freezing
  • Clear the snow and ice from your vehicle’s roof, hood and trunk and especially from the windows, mirrors and lights.

  • Always wear your seat belt.

  • Leave a few minutes early.

  • Start out slowly in the lowest gear recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.

  • Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges.

  • Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road.

  • Don't pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary. Treat these as you would emergency response vehicles.

  • Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your car.

  • Drive smart!

If you need this content in an accessible (federal section 508) format, call 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623).

Page last modified: Oct. 14, 2012