Winter Driving Tips: Wild animals, strong planning

Michael James

A Bull getting warm in the winter on a BMW.

Winter driving can be safe and it can be treacherous. Learning how to best handle your car or truck in inclement weather conditions is paramount to safe driving.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHSTA) offers a detailed list of safety instructions for during winter  — from knowing your car to planning for trips during poor weather conditions to being aware of wild animals’ changing winter behavior.

A Bull getting warm in the winter on a BMW.
A Bull getting warm in the winter on a BMW.

And there’s is stocking your vehicle with severe weather conditions equipment to properly servicing your car before driving in winter driving conditions.

Here’s the first in a series of article that include a checklist and tip for safe winter driving.

* For electric or hybrid-electric vehicles, several things can be done to minimize the drain on the batteries. If the vehicle has a thermal heating pack for the batteries, make sure your vehicle is plugged in whenever it is not in use. If the vehicle has a pre-heat function to warm the car interior, set it to warm the passenger compartment before you unplug it in the morning.

* Before moving your car, clean snow, ice or dirt from the windows, the forward sensors, headlights, tail lights and backup camera.

* Practice cold weather driving when your area gets snow — but not on a main road. Until you’ve sharpened your winter weather driving skills and know how your vehicle handles in snowy conditions, it’s best to practice in an empty parking lot in full daylight.

* When renting a car you should become familiar with the vehicle before driving it off the lot. For instance, you should know the location of the hazard lights in case of emergency. Take a minute to review the owner’s manual in the rental car so that you are prepared for any of the various driving situations that may arise.

* Keep yourself and others safe by planning ahead before you venture out into bad weather.

* Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic. Plan to leave early if necessary.

* Don’t rush! Allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.

* Familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go, even if you use a GPS system, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.

Article Last Updated: December 9, 2013.

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