We experience all four seasons in Wisconsin. In fact, we experience mother nature in all her glory–all year round–from the beautiful autumn palette to the intricate, unique pattern of each snow flake. And we see a lot of those. Snowflakes that is. Our winter seasons range from mild to extreme temperatures.  Some years we see sub-zero temps with even colder wind-chill factors.

As mid-westerners, we might feel like pros when driving on snow-covered roads but a few driving tips can refresh even the best memory.

Take a look at some of these helpful winter driving tips.

  1. Before the first snow storm of the year hits us, it is best to get your car tuned up so it is ready for the winter.
    • Change the oil.
    • Check the tire pressure and inflate to proper winter levels.
    • Check windshield wipers to ensure proper functioning.
  2. Ideally, when the roads are dangerous to drive on in the winter, it would be best to stay off of them until they have been plowed. If you must venture out during a heavy snowfall, remember to:
    • Allow yourself some extra time to reach your destination safely.
    • Never speed in the snow, even if you are running late. It is more important for you to arrive to your destination safely.
    • When making a stop, gently press the brake pedal with your foot to help avoid skidding or sliding.
    • If the tires lock up and the car begins to swerve, gently release pressure from the brakes.
    • Do not panic and slam your foot on the brake because that will only cause the car to slide out of control.
    • Keep sandbags in the trunk of the car. This will help keep the back of the car weighed down and prevents sliding.
  3. Always make sure your car is visible to other drivers.
    • Keep your headlights and windshield free of ice or snow. It will help you see oncoming traffic and make you visible to them.
  4. If you get stuck in a snow bank or high snow drifts
    • Do not try to get out by spinning the tires. This can cause you to become even more stuck.
    • Turn the wheels from side to side to help clear some of the snow away from the tires.
    • If there is a shovel handy, try to remove some of the snow from the tires and underneath the car.
  5. In case of an emergency, it is smart to keep some equipment in your car at all times. In the winter, it is necessary to keep;
    • A spare tire
    • A jack
    • A blanket
    • Jumper cables
    • Tow and tire chains
    • A bag of salt
    • A tool kit
  6. Some more essential tools or a “survival kit” include:
    • A flashlight that works
    • Extra batteries
    • An ice scrapper and snow brush
    • Exterior windshield cleaner
    • Spare gloves.

We never know exactly what Wisconsin’s winter weather will bring, but it is not uncommon for us to have over a foot of snow and below zero temperatures. As pretty as the snow is, it can be dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. Is your car ready for what winter is willing to throw at us? With it on the way, it is best to be prepared. Get your car winterized and remember these tips when driving in the snow. Just some friendly winter driving tips from our vehicle donations team.