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Basic winter driving tips

Learn how to navigate snow, heavy fog, ice and more.

Even if you don't experience winter storms often, it's still important to know how to drive in any season's conditions. Here's how to take to the road during winter weather.

If you drive in...

  • Heavy rain: Avoid slamming on the brakes or abruptly correcting your steering. If your vehicle begins hydroplaning, ease off the gas pedal and steer straight until you regain control.
  • Dense fog: Use fog lights. If your vehicle has front fog lights, they can help illuminate the road and make your vehicle more visible to other drivers. Some vehicles have rear fog lights, which help those behind you see your vehicle from farther away. Keep headlights on low beam (high-beams just reflect off the fog and don't illuminate the road ahead), and hug the right edge of the road. If you need to pull over, move far away from traffic and turn off your lights: Other drivers might see taillights and think you're in the traffic lane, which can lead to them going off the road.
  • Icy conditions: Don't make sharp turns or corrections, and avoid slamming on the brakes-it could cause skidding. When approaching a hill, wait until the vehicle in front of you has reached the top before you start up. Drive steadily up the hill but avoid going too fast; that could cause you to swerve.
  • Snowy weather or on snow-covered roads: Don't pass snowplows or sanding trucks - they are likely trying to clear the road ahead. Approach intersections slowly, and brake gently to avoid skidding. If you slide, turn your steering wheel in the direction your vehicle is sliding.

And in all winter weather scenarios, avoid using cruise control, drive slower than usual, and leave plenty of stopping distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

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