Driving in the winter means changes in the way you drive.  Prepare for the season with these helpful tips…

Check the Weather Before You Go

If the weather is frigid, you’re going to want to warm up the car before you drive it. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never leave a vehicle running in an enclosed area, such as a garage. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that a car running in an attached garage is never safe, even with the garage door open.

If the forecast looks iffy, wait out the storm if possible. But if you must travel make sure you share your travel plans and route with someone before you leave.

If you become stranded in an unfamiliar area, do not leave your car. Light flares in front and behind the car and make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow, mud or any object.

Prepare Your Car

Besides checking the weather, it’s important to have a mechanic check the condition of the following vehicle systems before heading out on the road:

  • Ignition
  • Brakes
  • Wiring
  • Hoses and fan belts
  • Spark plugs
  • Air, fuel and emissions filters, and PCV valve
  • Distributor
  • Battery
  • Tire wear and air pressure
  • Antifreeze level and freeze line

Know What to Do to Avoid a Crash

You’ve done all you can to prepare your car, you’ve checked the weather, but suddenly you find yourself driving in a slippery mess. If visibility is severely limited due to a whiteout, pull off the road and don’t even attempt to drive farther until conditions improve. But sometimes water or ice on the road can surprise drivers, even with little to no precipitation.

Do you know how to prevent a skid? Would you know what to do if you ended up sliding toward another vehicle or fixed object? Here are some winter driving tips:

  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather
  • Do not use cruise control in wintery conditions
  • Look and steer in the direction you want to go
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly
  • Increase following distance to 8 to 10 seconds
  • Know whether you have antilock brakes, which will “pump” the brakes for you in a skid
  • If possible, don’t stop when going uphill
  • Keep your gas tank at least half-full
  • If you do get stranded, don’t try to push your vehicle out of snow
  • Signal distress with a brightly colored cloth tied to the antenna or in a rolled up window


Safety has been Tradesmen International’s #1 Core Value since our inception in 1992. While we’re proud to provide all our employees OSHA Training, Tool-Box Talks as well as On-going Safety Communication and Education, we believe that each individual must personally emphasize safe behavior at home, on the road, the jobsite and at all times to ensure their safety and the safety of all those around them.

Meet with a Tradesmen Safety Specialist and learn more about OSHA Construction Outreach Safety Training Programs including exceptional pricing, dates and times. Call 844.402.7233 and ask for our Director of Safety Communications. Be Safe.