Tools and Education


Driving In Bad Weather

Bookmark and Share

Driving in bad weather is a major cause of accidents. When you are driving, particularly on a long trip, make sure to stay tuned to radio reports about weather conditions. If you hear that an ice storm, hurricane, tornado, flood, hail, or other severe weather is expected on the route you are taking or at your intended destination, change your travel plans. Whatever reason you have for going where you are going cannot be as important as saving your life.

Winter Weather Driving Tips

  • Go slow, accelerate slowly and don’t use cruise control on wet or icy roads.
  • Keep your headlights on in bad weather, even during the day. This is not only to help you see but to help other drivers see you.
  • Pack a winter emergency kit for your car: flashlight, batteries, cell phone charger, blanket, water, snacks, gloves, boots and a first-aid kit.
  • Keep your car maintained. Make sure you have enough gas, windshield fluid and antifreeze. Have your brakes checked.
    The safest following distance on normal, dry pavement is three to four seconds. On ice or snow, allow eight to 10 seconds of following time. 
  • Check your car’s tire tread and wear. Minimum tread is 1/16” for adequate traction.
  • Keep extra windshield wiper fluid in your trunk, and make sure the wiper blades are in good condition.
    If you can’t see a snowplow’s side mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Stay at least 2-3 car lengths behind, and watch for sudden stops or turns.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving on wet, icy or snowy roads.
  • Don’t forget to clear snow from your vehicle before driving – including the roof. (The drivers behind you will thank you.)
  • Be extra careful driving on bridges, ramps, overpasses and in shaded areas. They tend to freeze first.
  • Roads that seem dry may actually be the most dangerous. Watch out for black ice.
  • If you get stuck, clear the area around your exhaust pipe, then turn on the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour while waiting for help. 
  • If you are already in an area that is being hit by bad weather, don’t try to drive your way out of it. Seek shelter for both you and your car and wait for the storm to pass.

Did you purchase optional Towing and Labor coverage with your auto policy? This covers towing and labor for disabled vehicles, not just after accidents.

Some of the information above is courtesy of the Insurance Information Institute (

Copyright © 2015 State Auto Insurance Companies. All rights reserved.