Falling snow can be picturesque, but it can also wreak havoc on the roads. While no one enjoys driving in snowy or slippery conditions, there are steps you can take to help improve your safety with these winter driving tips.

Here are some guidelines that can help you stay safe when driving in adverse winter conditions:

  • Make sure your car is prepared for cold temperatures and wintery conditions like snow and ice. Keep your equipment properly maintained and include a winter survival kit in your vehicle: an ice scraper, snow shovel and sand/salt.
  • Clear snow and ice off your car – including windows, mirrors, lights, reflectors, hood, roof and trunk.
  • Drive with your headlights on, and be sure to keep them clean to improve visibility.
  • Use caution when snow banks limit your view of oncoming traffic.
  • Avoid using cruise control in snowy or icy conditions. In adverse conditions, you want as much control of your car as possible.
  • Know how to brake on slippery surfaces. Vehicles with anti-lock brakes operate much differently from those that do not have anti-lock brakes. You should consult your vehicle's owner's manual for instructions on how to brake properly if your vehicle should start to skid.
  • Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season. This helps ensure you have a source of heat if you are stuck or stranded.
  • If you do venture out or are unexpectedly caught in a snowstorm and encounter problems, stay in your car and wait for help. You can run the car heater to stay warm for 10 minutes every hour, but make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow. There is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if snow blocks the pipe and enables the deadly gas to build up in your car. Open your window slightly to help prevent the buildup.
  • Keep your windshield washer reservoir full, and make sure your car has wiper blades that are in good condition.
  • Remember that speed limits are meant for dry roads, not roads covered in snow and ice. You should reduce your speed and increase your following distance as road conditions and visibility worsen.
  • Be cautious on bridges and overpasses as they are commonly the first areas to become icy.
  • Avoid passing snow plows and sand trucks. The drivers can have limited visibility, and the road in front of them could be worse than the road behind.
  • Monitor road and weather conditions by checking local news stations or Internet traffic and weather sites.
  • If you must travel during a snowstorm or in blizzard conditions, be sure to let a relative, friend or coworker know where you are headed and your expected arrival time. Avoid the temptation to check or be on your phone while driving as all of your attention should be on arriving safely.
How Can I Save Money On Auto Insurance?
When It Comes to Lowering Your Auto Insurance Premiums, You’re in the Driver’s Seat

The cost of auto insurance premiums can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending what type of car you have and who insures it. Here are some ways to save money.

1. Shop AroundPrices differ from company to company, so it pays to shop around.  Get at least three price quotes. You can call companies directly or research the information online. Your state insurance department may also provide comparisons of prices charged by major insurers.

While shopping, get quotes from different types of insurance companies. Some sell through their own agents; some sell through independent agents who offer policies from several insurance companies. And a growing number of insurers sell directly to consumers over the phone or via the Internet.

Lastly, don’t shop by price alone. Ask friends and relatives for their recommendations. Contact your state insurance department to find out whether they provide information on consumer complaints by company. Work with an insurance professional who takes time to answer your questions. 

2. Before You Buy a Car, Compare Insurance CostsBefore you buy a new or used vehicle, check what it will cost to insure. Auto insurance premiums are based in part on the car’s price, the cost to repair it, its overall safety record and the likelihood of theft. Many insurers offer discounts for features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft. You can research safety rankings for specific models with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick ratings tool.

3. Higher Deductibles Could Mean Lower PremiumsA deductible is the amount you pay before your insurance policy kicks in. By choosing a higher deductible, you can significantly lower your costs. Before choosing a higher deductible, however, be sure you have enough money set aside to pay it if you have a claim.

4. Reduce Coverage on Older CarsIt pays to review your coverage at renewal time to make sure your insurance is in step with your needs. For example, if your car is worth less than 10 times the premium, purchasing the coverage may not be cost effective. When this is the case, consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage. It’s easy to research the worth of your vehicle online--Kelley,National Association of Auto Dealers (NADA), and TrueCar are among the many free sites available.  

5. Buy Your Homeowners and Auto Insurance from the Same CompanyMany insurers will give you a break if you “bundle” two or more types of insurance, or have more than one vehicle insured with them. Most offer some kind of discount to loyal customers. Even so, it still makes sense to shop around! Compared with a multipolicy discount from a single insurer, you might still save money buying from different companies.

6. Maintain a Good Credit HistoryEstablishing a solid credit history has many benefits, including lower insurance costs. Most insurers use credit information to price auto insurance policies. (Research shows conclusively that people who effectively manage their credit make fewer claims). To be sure you’re getting the good credit you deserve, it’s a good idea to check your credit record on a regular basis to be sure all information is accurate.

7. Take Advantage of Low Mileage DiscountsSome companies offer discounts to motorists who drive less than the average number of miles per year. Low mileage discounts can also apply to drivers who car pool to work.

8. Ask About Group InsuranceSome companies offer reductions to drivers who get insurance through a group plan from their employers, through professional, business and alumni groups or from other associations.

9. Seek Out Other DiscountsCompanies offer discounts to policyholders who:

  • Have not had any accidents or moving violations specified period.
  • Drive fewer miles per year than the average motorist
  • Have taken a defensive driving course.
If there is a young driver on your policy who is a good student, has taken a drivers education course or is away at college without a car, you may also qualify for a lower rate. But one important thing to keep in mind is that the key to savings is not necessarily getting discounts, but the final price. A company that offers few discounts may still have a lower overall price.