Skip to main content

Ask A Trooper

Following basic winter driving tips may reduce accidents
Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol

Question: Can you talk about winter driving safety?
Answer:  This is a great time to talk about it and remind drivers about the dangers of driving on slippery roads and reducing chances of being involved in a crash.
•Avoid unnecessary travel if conditions are poor.
•Buckle up, and make sure child restraints are tightly secured.
•Drive at safe speeds according to road conditions, and provide for plenty of travel time.
•Increase safe stopping distance between vehicles.
•Use extra precautions when driving around snowplows by keeping at least five car-lengths behind plows.
•If skidding, remain calm, ease foot off the gas, and turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
•If vehicle has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), apply a steady firm pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump ABS brakes.
•Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights, and directional signals.
•Headlights must be turned on when it is snowing or sleeting.
•Do not use cruise control on snow/icy/wet roads.  Conditions can change over every hill and around every curve.  Be very aware of bridge decks and overpasses as they become icy.
•Equip vehicles with a scraper/brush, small shovel, jumper cables, tow chain, and a bag of sand or cat litter for tire traction. Blanket(s), heavy boots, warm clothing, and flashlights are also important, as are storing high-energy foods such as chocolate or energy bars.
•Be sure cell phones are charged for long trips, and inform family of destination plans and schedule. 
•If stranded, stay in the vehicle.
•Parents of teen drivers should make sure new motorists experience snow and ice driving in a safe environment, such as an empty parking lot.
•Slow down and move over for emergency vehicles parked at a scene.
•Have good winter-type tires on your vehicle.
•Have a good set of windshield wipers on your vehicle.
•For weather-related road condition information, call 5-1-1 or visit
Remember that you can’t control how other drivers are driving, but you can reduce your chances of being involved in a crash if you follow basic winter driving safety tips.
If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848. (Or reach him at,

You must log in to continue reading. Log in or subscribe today.