5 Tips for Safe Winter Driving

Posted Friday, Nov 12, 2021

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in snowy regions, which receive more than five inches of average snowfall annually.

Each year, more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes in the snow.

In Central New York, we can usually expect to receive more snow than the national averages. And unfortunately, that means higher risk for accidents as well.

At CNY Drives, we want to ensure you can safely and confidently get to your destination, even during critical weather. Read our tips below to find out the five more important safety tips when driving in the snow and winter conditions.


  1. Prepare Your Vehicle
    1. Are you ready to hit the road? Before you continue on your adventure, check off your maintenance list. Winter driving puts a strain on your vehicle. Take a look at your tire tread, tire pressure, car battery, and fluids. Check your gas tank before leaving the driveway. It is crucial to keep your gas tank at least half full.
  2. Slow Down
    1. The best advice we can offer our clients is to slow down and pay attention. Prepare for the unexpected - snow, ice, accidents, and damaged roads.
  3. Emergency Kit
    1. Is your vehicle equipped with an emergency kit? If not, it’s time to pack one so you’re prepared. An emergency kit can include non-perishable snacks, water, warm gloves, shovel, ice scraper, blanket, jumper cables, and a first-aid kit.
  4. Manage the Hills Safely in Winter Conditions
    1. Are you going up a big hill? Remember this one tip - don’t stop. According to AAA, one of the best ways to drive safely on wintry roads is to avoid stopping unless you have to. While maintaining a safe speed and distance from other vehicles, build inertia before going up a big hill and avoid stopping.
  5. Brake Early
    1. Leave enough space between you and the car ahead of you. Follow the three-second rule when maintaining a safe distance. To prevent your car from spinning and losing control, brake early and smoothly.


Big Luke’s Tip: 

Keep to the right! Did you know that a large percentage of licensed drivers traveling the roads are not aware that the left lane is for passing?

While those of us who took Drivers Education in High School are aware of this, there are a lot of folks unaware that there are "fast lanes" and "slow lanes." When you are on a highway with multiple lanes traveling in the same direction, the lane furthest to the left is only for passing. Maintaining travel in this lane is unlawful and unkind. When traveling, use the right line or middle lane, and save the left lane for passing a car traveling at a lower speed.

Let's minimize road rage and keep everyone safer. If you are in the left lane and someone is behind you, and they seem frustrated, put your blinker on, wait five seconds, and change lanes.

Have a happy and safe winter season, folks!