As the weather gets colder, we all anticipate driving conditions becoming worse and worse. Just as the first few flakes of a snowstorm start to build up, so does traffic. Follow these 10 driving tips to stay safe while you’re driving in the snow and ice this winter season.

Do not use cruise control. Driving on ice requires manual gas and brake adjustments.Winterize your car! Make sure your car is up to date with fluids, brakes and fuel.

It’s best to keep your fuel tank half full during the winter – but particularly before a long trip on the road. Be sure that you’ve recently had your oil changed and that all the other fluids in your car have been topped off before heading out on the road in the cold.

Make sure tires are properly inflated.
No one wants to get stranded with a flat tire – particularly while driving in snow. Be sure that your tires are properly inflated, as tire pressure fluctuates with the temperature.

Always wear a seatbelt. In case of an accident, wearing your seatbelt can save your life.
Winterize your car! Top off fluids, check your brakes and tires.Slow down. When snow really starts to accumulate, it’s in everyone’s best interest to slow down – you never know if a patch of black ice could be up ahead.

One of the most important winter driving tips: accelerate and decelerate slowly. Mashing your foot down on the gas or the brake while driving in snow can cause your car to lose traction and you to lose control. Keep calm and carefully accelerate, or brake slowly to prevent any accidents while on the road.

A general driving tip to follow is the 3-4 second rule: stay at least 3-4 seconds behind the person in front of you. When driving in snow or on ice, this should be increased to 6-8 seconds. Again, slowing down can help keep you and your car safe while driving on ice or in snow.

Stay alert! Do not drive distracted. Safe driving in snow means paying attention to your surroundings, not to your phone or radio.

Do not use cruise control. This goes along with staying alert. Using cruise control while driving in snow or on ice could lead to an accident, quickly. Keep the cruise control off while driving in winter conditions.

Check the weather and plan your route ahead of time.

Checking the weather ahead of your trip could save you a lot of trouble while you’re out on the road in the winter. While it’s a good driving tip to map out your route before you leave the house, it’s even more important during the colder months.

The most important winter driving tip: stay alert! Do not drive distracted.Make sure you’re prepared – emergency kit.

Having a winter emergency kit in your car will help you be prepared while travelling. Check out this article we wrote about stocking your winter emergency kit.

If you’re prepared, driving in the snow doesn’t have to be as precarious as it seems. Making sure that you and your car are ready for the road ahead of time will keep both of you safe for many winters to come.

The three key elements to safe winter driving are:

Stay alert; 
Slow down; and 
Stay in control

It is best to winterize your vehicle before winter strikes. Schedule a maintenance check-up for the vehicle’s tires and tire pressure, battery, belts and hoses, radiator,oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, wipers and ignition system.Keep your gas tank sufficiently full – at least half a tank is recommended. Depending Upon where you drive, you may consider using winter tires or tire chains.

Winter driving conditions such as rain, snow, and ice dramatically affect the braking distance of a vehicle. The driver’s capability to complete a smooth and safe stopis severely limited due to reduced tire traction. In order to stop safely, the vehicle’s wheels must maintain traction by remaining on contact with the road surface while rolling, referred to as “rolling traction.” When handling slippery winter roads,the keys to safety are slower speeds, gentler stops and turns, and increased following distances. It is recommended that drivers reduce their speed to half the posted speed limit or less under snowy road conditions.

Don’t try to stretch more miles from your tires during the winter months. If your tread depth is getting low, it can have serious effects on dry pavement, but those effects are multiplied in wet and snowy conditions. When in doubt, get new tires.

Tire pressure usually lowers itself in winter and raises itself in summer. Under-inflated tires can cause a car to react more slowly to steering. Every time the outside temperature drops ten degrees, the air pressure inside your tires goes down about one or two PSI. Tires lose air normally through the process of permeation. Drivers should check their tire pressures frequently during cold weather, adding enough air to keep them at recommended levels of inflation at all times.

Sand and salt play a big role in keeping roads safe. The spreading of road salt prevents snow and ice from bonding to the road surface, which is why salt is usually spread early in a storm to prevent snow build-up and to aid in snow removal operations.

Unlike salt, sand does not melt and therefore helps by providing traction on slippery surfaces. Sand is often used when temperatures are too low for salt to be effective at higher temperatures for Immediate Extraction, particularly on hills, curves,bridges, intersections and on snow-packed roads.

Caution must be used when snow plows are on the roadways as snowplows and salt and sand trucks travel much slower than regular traffic. Passing a snowplow can be extremely dangerous as sight lines and visibility near a working snowplow are severely restricted by blowing snow.

Roads Are typically cooler in shady areas and drivers may encounter another extremely dangerous element known as “black ice.” Always slow down your vehicle when you seeshady areas under these types of conditions.