Winter Driving Tips
Before starting out, always clear snow and ice from the window and lights of your vehicle to increase your visibility and to be seen by others. Don’t forget to clean the brake lights too so that drivers behind you will know your intentions.
Accelerate slowly so that the wheels do not spin. Avoid sudden starts, stops, and turns. Drive slower and increase your following distance. The posted speed limits are for ideal conditions. On dry pavement a car doing 20 m.p.h. can stop in 25 feet, but it can take up to 150 feet to stop on an icy road. Slow down! In fact, Illinois law requires motorists to slow down if a special hazard exists due to weather or road conditions.
Roadway conditions may vary depending on the sun, shade, or roadway surface. Watch for slick spots, especially under bridges, on overpasses, and in shady spots. Be prepared to react physically and mentally.
In rain, snow or sleet, do not overdrive your headlights. Stay within the limits of your vision. Low beams work better than high beams during snowy or foggy conditions. Illinois law requires that your headlight be on if you are using your wipers due to inclement weather.
If your car is equipped with an antilock braking system (ABS), press firmly on the brake pedal. Do not pump the pedal or remove your foot from the brake. You will typically feel the brake pedal “pulse” back against your foot. If your car does not have ABS for braking under icy or snowy conditions it’s best to apply the brake firmly to a point just short of lock-up, then ease off the pedal slightly.
Finally, always buckle-up, regardless of how fast or how far you are going.