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Winter Driving Safety Tips

In Indiana, winter driving can be dangerous due to cold temperatures, snow and freezing. INDOT works to protect Hoosiers whenever hazardous weather causes unsafe driving conditions on our roadways. One simple way to keep yourself and everyone on the road safe is to SLOW DOWN. 

Follow the tips and advice below to be more prepared for winter driving!

Be Prepared

  • Knowledge:  Before leaving home, find out about the driving conditions. Safe drivers know the weather, and their limits.
  • Clear: Remove any snow on your vehicle’s windows, lights, brake lights and signals. Make sure you can see and be seen.
  • Inspect: Check your vehicle’s tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts and hoses.
  • Time: Leave plenty of time to reach your destination safely. It’s not worth putting yourself and others in a dangerous situation just to be on time.
  • Kit: Keep a basic winter survival kit in your vehicle including winter travel gear, tire chains, ice scraper/snowbrush, jumper cables, and road flares.

Road Conditions

  • First Snow or Ice: Drivers often aren’t prepared for winter driving and forget to take it slow. Drive well below the posted speed limit and leave plenty of room between cars.
  • Black Ice: Roads that seem dry may actually be slippery – and dangerous.  Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady areas – all are hot spots for black ice.
  • Limited Visibility: Stay attentive and reduce speed.  Know what’s going on around you.
  • Four-Wheel Drive: Go slowly. Even if you have an SUV with four-wheel drive you may not be able to stop any faster, or maintain control any better, once you lose traction.  Four-wheel drive may get you going faster, but it won’t help you stop sooner.

Snowplow Safety

  • Distance: Give snowplows room to work. The plows are wide and can cross the centerline or shoulder. Don't tailgate and try not to pass. If you must pass, take extreme caution and beware of the snow cloud.
  • Speed: Snowplows travel below the posted speed limit. Be patient. Allow plenty of time to slow down.
  • Vision: A snowplow operator's field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they don't always see you. Keep your distance and watch out for sudden stops or turns.

Proceed with Caution

  • Speed: The faster you’re going, the longer it will take to stop. When accelerating on snow or ice, take it slow to avoid slipping or sliding.
  • Distance: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you. It takes extra time and distance to stop on slick and snowy roads.
  • Brake: Brake early, brake slowly, and never slam on the brakes.
  • Control: Avoid using cruise control and abrupt steering maneuvers. When merging into traffic, take it slow. Sudden movements can cause your vehicle to slide.
  • Vision: Be aware of what’s going on ahead of you. Actions by other vehicles will alert you to problems more quickly, and give you extra time to react safely.

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