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November 29, 2021
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Winter Driving – Black Ice, Snow, and Freezing Rain

Winter driving is hazardous. Winter-related driving hazards include snow, sleet, freezing rain, black ice, and poor visibility. To prevent winter-related driving accidents, implement the following strategies:

  • Check the weather forecast prior to your trip.
  • Allow extra time to reach the destination, choose a route that avoids road surfaces that are not plowed or treated frequently, delay departure, or postpone the trip altogether.
  • Ensure batteries are fully charged since battery power can decrease as the temperature decreases. Tire tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch.
  • Check tire pressure frequently if your vehicle is not equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system. Tire pressure drops with low temperatures.
  • Make sure to check wiper blades and replace them as needed. Ensure you have an adequate supply of wiper fluid rated for -30 degrees F.
  • Clear your vehicle’s windshield and mirrors, as well as sensors and back-up camera.
  • Have an adequate supply of emergency supplies and safety equipment available. This may include bottled water, food, a blanket or extra winter clothing, a cell phone, cat litter or sand, a shovel, road flares or reflective triangles, and a flashlight.
  • Make sure your seat belt is firmly fastened.
  • Decrease speed and keep adequate distance from vehicles ahead.
  • Avoid using cruise control on icy or snowy roads and increase following distance enough to allow plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead.
  • If the vehicle does begin to skid or slide, never slam on the brakes to regain control of the vehicle. Always steer in the direction of the skid or slide.
  • Accelerate and decelerate in a controlled manner.

Seventy percent of the U.S. population lives in places that have snowy and icy conditions during winter months.

According to the Federal Highway Administration more than 150,000 over-the-road vehicle crashes occur in the United States annually due to snowy and icy roads.


Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Port Clinton, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;



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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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