Driving in Ice, Snow

Streets and highways covered with snow, snowpack or ice are extremely hazardous. They are most hazardous when the snow or ice begins to melt. When the road is slippery, your tires do not grip as well and it will take longer to stop. Overpasses, bridges, shaded areas and snow packed portions of the road can be icy even when other pavement is not. If you lose traction take your foot off both the brake and the accelerator pedal and then turn the front wheels in the direction you want the car to go.

Drivers should be extra careful when approaching or passing a snowplow or other snow removal equipment that has flashing yellow lights and is clearing snow. It is illegal to pass a city, county or state-operated snow plow while it’s working with its yellow lights flashing and is driving in tandem with one or more other snow plows.


  • Vehicles with 4-wheel drive have increased traction, but they cannot stop any sooner than a conventional car.
  • Whenever your car starts to skid, take your foot off both the brake and the accelerator pedal.
  • Make sure your tires have good tread for adequate traction. In winter, chains, snow tires or alternative traction devices are preferable and may be required on highways. (However, remember that even chains and snow tires will slip on slick pavement).
  • Make sure your brakes are in good condition and properly adjusted so that the braking power of each wheel is uniform.
  • If you have anti-lock brakes: If you begin to skid, let up on the accelerator and push on the brake, then turn the front wheels in the direction you want the car to go.
  • If you don’t have anti-lock, use threshold braking when skidding or in slippery conditions. Apply brake pressure to a point just short of locking up the brakes. Note: You can use threshold braking on a vehicle with anti-lock brakes, but you cannot use anti-lock braking techniques on a vehicle without an anti-lock brake system (ABS).
  • Keep the windows clear by ensuring the defrosters and windshield wipers are working properly. Use a good window scraper to remove all ice, snow and frost even if you are just traveling a short distance. Fogging or condensation on the inside of the windshield can quickly be removed by opening a window.
  • Be alert for snow plows and sanding trucks. They use flashing yellow and blue lights as a warning for you to use extreme caution when approaching or passing them.
  • Maintain an extra large space between you and the vehicle ahead, especially when driving in conditions that affect stopping distance such as snow and ice and don’t forget to slow down.
  • Give pedestrians and bicyclists extra space because they might need to maneuver around snow or ice on sidewalks or in the roadway.