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While much of the Midwest seems to have avoided winter thus far, the snow and cold is boung to come. Midwest winters bring skiing, skating, sledding and a beautiful white blanket of fresh powder. But, they also bring treacherous driving conditions. The best piece of advice for driving in poor weather conditions: simply avoid doing it. As a practical reality, though, not driving is not always viable.

Getting Started

Clear all snow and ice from your vehicle – most importantly, clean your windows, lights, and hood. After starting your vehicle, let the heater run for a minute or two before switching on the defroster to help prevent the windshield from fogging over when warm air hits cold glass.

Trying to get out of a parking space in snow? Make sure your wheels are pointed straight, shift into drive and gently press the accelerator. Avoid tire spinning, as this will dig you deeper into the snow. If you are unable to get traction, try turning your wheels side-to-side to clear some snow away or get out with a shovel and clear a path in front of the wheels.


Avoid driving when visibility is poor. Wait until plows and sanding trucks have cleared the roadways. If you must drive, reduce speed and allow at least three times more space between you and the car in front of you than normal. Never use cruise-control in slippery conditions.

When slowing or stopping, release the accelerator and apply gentle pressure to the brakes. If your wheels lock up, ease off the brakes. If over 25 mph. in slippery conditions, steering is the preferred method for evasive action. Braking can be dangerous. It takes less distance to steer around an object than to brake to a stop.


In a rear-wheel skid, take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction you are going. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply steady pressure. Don’t pump the brakes. Some older vehicles have standard brakes, which must be gently pumped in a skid.

In a front-wheel skid, take your foot off the accelerator. Do not try to steer out of the skid. As your wheels skid sideways, they will begin to gain traction and then you can steer in the direction you want to go.

Think about it.

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