Winter driving tips: Be prepared for ice, snow, and more

Winter driving tips: Be prepared for ice, snow, and more

AAA's driving experts share safety tips
AAA Staff
winter driving

The holidays are hectic, and it’s tempting to dash through the snow, rain or ice to get to where you need to go. But rushing on wet, winter roads puts you at greater risk for car crashes: 21 percent of all auto collisions are weather-related, mostly due to wet pavement and rain, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“Follow your instincts and don’t drive if you feel unsafe or if the authorities are advising you to stay off the roads,” said Mike Formanowicz, AAA Western and Central New York’s driver training manager. “If you do venture out, proceed with caution.”

The first rule of safe driving during wet weather is to slow down to improve traction. Keep these other tips in mind when driving this winter:

  • Avoid braking and turning at the same time. Brake first, then turn, then accelerate.
  • Accelerate and decelerate more slowly than you would on dry roads.
  • Leave plenty of space between your car and the car ahead of you. Increase following distances to at least six seconds.
  • Avoid using cruise control, which can reduce traction.
  • If you start to skid, don’t slam on the brakes. Continue to look and steer in the direction you want the car to go.
  • Stay alert and minimize distractions. Don’t text, talk on the phone or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • In snow and ice, try not to stop when heading up a steep hill. After you’ve stopped, applying extra gas to get started again may only spin your wheels.
  • Get some momentum going on a flat road as you approach the hill to help you reach the top, then reduce your speed and drive down the hill slowly.

For your winter driving needs, AAA is here for motorists! Whether you need auto insurance in the case of a collision or roadside service, AAA can help motorists on or off the road.


Driving skills and driver training are critical when facing bad weather on the road. AAA’s driver training instructors can help both new and experienced drivers stay safe while driving. Learn more.

AAA Driver Training