10 Tips for Safer Winter Driving in Wisconsin

| Winter Car Care

After months of wonderful warm weather driving, it often comes as quite a shock when it’s time to take on those snow- and ice-covered roads once again. Black ice, freshly fallen snow, and unplowed roads can surprise even the most cautious drivers. As Wisconsinites, we know to not only be careful drivers ourselves, but to be aware of those around us as well.

To stay safe and prepared this season, freshen up your winter driving tips and safety advice with 199ride’s top 10 winter driving safety tips below.

1. Consider winter tires for your car, truck, or SUV.

Although the days of studded tires are long gone, the latest winter tread designs can really help you get through the snowy season no matter what vehicle you have. It is estimated even half-worn winter tires provide as much traction as brand-new all-season tires. 

Check your car tires’ tread and think about winter tires to minimize those slippery situations that can often become dangerous.

2. Get your traction back.

Ever find yourself rocking your car back and forth in a desperate attempt to escape a slippery spot? Fortunately, there’s a better way than putting your transmission at risk.

Stow some salt, sand, or an “ice carpet” in the trunk so you can make your escape with ease. In a pinch, grab a floor mat, turn it over and use that for traction. 

3. Can you dig it? Get a shovel.

Emergency snow shovels come in an amazing variety of types and sizes. Many have hinged handles that allow you to fold the shovel for compact trunk storage. Consider a shovel also capable of chipping away at the ice.

4. Download a weather app.

Be in the know about current weather to lower your chances of getting caught in a storm. Popular weather apps provide up-to-the-minute data that will help you plan your trip across town or across the state and offer road condition updates. Put the weather radar in motion to see what’s heading your way.

Apps such as Accuweather, The Weather Channel, and Weather Underground can provide real-time updates for on-the-go drivers.

5. R-E-L-A-X.

Winter driving often calls for patience as racing to your destination can be risky. Even if you’re in control of your vehicle, other motorists nearby may not be. When you’re relaxed, focused, and take your time, you increase your chances of making the right split-second decisions. 

6. Drive during the daytime, if possible.

In Wisconsin, winter daylight is fleeting. On December 21st, the shortest day of the year, residents of Green Bay see the sun rise at 7:25 am and set at 4:15 pm. Navigating those patches of black ice is tricky enough, so don’t complicate matters by driving in the dark if you don’t have to. 

7. Respect those bridges.

If you’ve found that bridges seem to ice over quicker than the roads, it’s not your imagination.

Warmer ground heats the road above, while cold air surrounds bridges above and below, creating ice. You don’t want to suddenly hit an icy bridge at excessive speeds. Finally, there’s often more margin for error if you skid off a road and into a ditch. On a bridge, there may be a just a few feet between your car and the concrete.

Be extra cautious driving on bridges for added safety this winter!

8. Stay back.

Did you know that stopping distances can double on wet roads and increase ten times on icy roads? This chart reminds motorists that coming to a full stop involves both a “thinking distance” and a “braking distance.”

In Wisconsin, it is all the more important to maintain a safe distance between vehicles because of the number of deer that haphazardly dart across the road. The state now ranks fifth in the number of deer collisions. 

Give yourself more space than normal when driving in snowy or icy conditions.

9. Simply reschedule.

Among the many winter driving tips recommended by the American Automobile Association (AAA), the simplest of all is to “stay home.” Anytime you face bad roads, consider how important the trip really is. Sometimes, a few-hour delay can make all the difference. 

Despite the feet of snow Wisconsin communities see in an average winter, roads do remain relatively clear much of the time. Respect for Mother Nature is one key to getting through the winter driving season.

10. Think about a worry-free vehicle.

Our final Wisconsin winter driving tip? Make sure you have the right car for winter.

At a minimum, take to the road with enough tire tread, a fully charged battery, and emergency supplies. When possible, consider all-wheel and four-wheel-drive models for maximum traction on snow and ice. 

At 199ride, you’ll find a great selection of Nicer, Newer™ worry-free used cars, trucks, and SUVs. Check out our large inventory online or visit one of our Wisconsin dealerships in Green BayAppletonWausauAntigo, or LaCrosse.