As a driver in the Upper-Midwest, you have to be prepared for winter conditions. After asking a few locals about what winter driving lessons they value most, I decided to compile a list of some common driving lessons and why they are (or aren’t) true.
Speed limits are created based on clear driving conditions, so if the roads are covered in ice and slush you probably don’t want to be driving 65 miles per hour on the highway. Driving too fast can cause you to lose control of the vehicle. Be careful though, if you drive too slowly you can also lose control and be a danger to the other drivers around you. Slowing down and staying with the flow of other drivers is a good rule of thumb to follow.
Advice from a Midwesterner – “Slow down and leave extra space between you and the car in front of you.” – Bennet from Detroit Lakes, MN
All-season tires are just as good as snow tires.
Snow tires are designed to handle winter roads. They have deeper grooves to shed snow and slush while giving you more control. If the place you are living has cold winters, the rubber used to make snow tires is also designed to stay softer in lower temperatures which helps improve traction. When you are driving on winter roads often, you probably want to invest in a set of snow tires. However, it is important to get all four for balanced traction.
Advice from a Midwesterner – “In North Dakota studded tires are legal and a huge lifesaver on ice.” – Marit from Fargo, ND
Rear defrost and your windshield wipers will clear your windows if you are in a hurry.
It often snows a lot in the winter and not everyone has access to a heated garage. After a big snowstorm or extremely cold night, cars are left covered in snow and ice. Many drivers just dust and scrape off the bare minimum amount to see, but any area that you don’t clear leaves you with additional blind spots. This opens drivers up to more potential accidents. Even if you are in a hurry, take the extra time to scrape your windows-it could save you from an accident.
Advice from a Midwesterner – “Frosted windows are an accident waiting to happen. You have to make time to scrape your windows and clear off the snow so you can see.” – Karen from Ottertail, MN
Winterize your car.
Before the really cold weather hits, you should take steps to winterize your car. Make sure that your car has a good battery. You should check your oil, antifreeze and wiper fluid. Test your brakes, windshield wipers and tire, too. It is also important to have a winter survival kit in your car. In the winter, you need to be prepared for any emergency.
Advice from a Midwesterner – “Always bring a winter survival kit. No one ever plans to need one.” – Kody from Fargo, ND
Here are some other winter driving tips from people across North Dakota and Minnesota.
“Don’t slam on your breaks. It’ll make things worse.” – Austin from Fargo, ND
“Keep an eye on the white and yellow lines.” – Kelly from Bismarck, ND
“But in all honesty wearing my seatbelt saved my life 3 years ago. No matter how prepared you think you are for winter driving there is always something you can’t foresee. Seatbelts save lives.” – Amanda from Minneapolis, MN
“Don’t over-correct. Ending up in the ditch is a much better option than rolling your car.” – Kristen from Jamestown, ND
However, our most important winter driving rule came to us from Josh from Fargo, “When in doubt, don’t go out!”
Did we miss anything important? Tweet your best winter driving tip to us @JiffyLubeFargo.