A to Z List
Winter is the most difficult driving season. Not only do you have snow
and ice to deal with, but there are fewer hours of daylight as well. Before
winter weather arrives, make sure your vehicle is in good condition, especially
the tires, battery, and exhaust system. Never combine radial and non-radial
tires on the same vehicle. On front-wheel drive cars, it is best to put
snow tires or "all-season" tires on all four wheels, not just
Be sure the windshield washer container is filled with a freeze-resistant
cleaning solution. Always
carry emergency supplies in case you become stranded. (See below for a
suggested list.) A Citizens Band (CB) radio and/or cellular phone can be
very useful to you or another stranded motorist in case of an emergency.
Remember to pull of the road to talk on a cellular phone.
Know your vehicle. Not all cars respond the same to icy, slippery
roads. For that reason, knowing how to handle your vehicle and how it responds
in various weather
conditions is important. Your owner's manual will provide vital information
about your vehicle's braking system, tire traction, and safety
tips. Drivers should maintain winter driving
techniques and caution even when roads appear
clear. For those driving SUVs or 4-wheel drive vehicles, please remember
that these vehicles react to ice just like any other
vehicle. Overconfidence in your vehicle's abilities can lead to serious
- Utah law requires the use of seat belts and child safety seats in all
vehicles. Driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
is prohibited. Laws are strictly enforced.
- Clear all snow and ice
from your hood, roof, trunk,
turn signal lights, tail and headlights, windows, mirrors, and fenders.
- Plan your route and be familiar with the maps/directions to avoid
- Check the weather reports and adjust your starting time.
- Inform others of your route and expected time of arrival.
- Always fill the gasoline tank before entering open country, even
for a short distance, and stop to fill-up long before the tank begins
low. Keeping the gas tank as full as possible will minimize condensation.
- Drive with extra caution. Start slow and easy from a stop and steer
smoothly. No abrupt turning, braking or accelerating.
- Increase your following distance. The distance needed to stop on ice
is twice as long as that you would need to brake under normal driving
- Drive slower than the posted speed limit; remember that it is calculated
for ideal weather conditions.
- You have better visibility using your LOW BEAMS when driving in a
snow storm or fog.
- Use extra caution when driving on bridges, overpasses, tunnels, or
areas without direct sunlight. Those areas often have black ice - a
thin clear layer of ice which allows
the dark underlying road surface to show through. Black ice forms when the temperature is around (even slightly above)
freezing and the road is damp/wet from high humidity, fog, daytime snow
melt, rain, or snow. Signs of black ice include a shiny road surface or
when you no longer see spray from the tires
of other vehicles but the road still looks wet.
- KNOW YOUR BRAKES. Your owner's manual will provide information about
your braking system. Find out which type of brakes your vehicle has
and follow the safety steps below.
- Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) offer significant advantages on
slick roads, if used correctly. To operate ABS effectively, apply
steady pressure to the brake pedal during the entire stop. ABS will
automatically pump the brakes, if necessary, to keep the wheels from
locking. Never manually pump ABS brakes yourself. Apply only steady
pressure continuously until you come to a complete stop.
- If you don't have ABS, you should gently apply pumping pressure to
your brakes during slippery conditions. Do not apply steady pressure
brakes. Standing on your brakes will only cause wheel lock, and may result
in your car spinning out of control.
- HANDLING SKIDS
- FRONT WHEEL DRIVE: Once you feel your car begin to skid, slowly
remove your foot from the accelerator, until you feel your wheels
regain traction control. (Do not
attempt to brake!) As your vehicle's tires grab the road, slowly turn
the steering wheel in the direction you want your front wheels to
- REAR WHEEL DRIVE: When you begin to spin, remove your foot from the gas
pedal. Slowly steer in the direction you want the car to go. If you are
still skidding out of control, counter-steer until your vehicle is pointing
in the right direction. Never apply steady pressure to the brakes.
If you become stranded:
(Items in bold should already be packed in the
vehicle as part of your emergency supplies. See below for a complete emergency
- If your vehicle breaks down, pull as far off the road as possible and
turn on the warning/flashing lights. Your greatest personal danger at this
point is that of being hit by passing cars.
- Don't panic. Use common sense.
- Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it
is to help, and are certain you will improve your situation.
- To attract attention light two flares and place one at
each end of the car a safe distance away or hang a brightly colored
cloth from your antenna.
- If you are sure the car's exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine
and heater for about 10 minutes every hour or so depending upon the amount
of gas in the tank.
- To protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia, use the woolen
items, blanket, newspapers, and large bags to keep warm.
- Keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow and ice can seal a
- Bottled water may freeze. Eat a hard candy to
keep your mouth moist.
- Battery jumper cables
- First aid kit
- Basic tool kit (pliers, screwdriver, adjustable wrench) and pocket
- Sleeping bags or blankets
- Extra winter clothing (caps, socks, mittens, and boots)
- Bottled water & non-perishable food - nuts,
candy, nutrition bars, etc.
- Windshield scraper
- Flashlight and transistor radio with extra batteries
- Candle and matches
- Bag of sand
- Bright colored cloth
- Wireless phone, if available
Please see our severe weather, summer driving pages and
these additional web sites for more safe driving information.
Commuterlink - Live camera shots are available for major arteries
throughout the Salt Lake valley.
Winter Road Conditions
Weather and Conditions Report
Weather Channel with Doppler Radar
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