Tips for Driving Your Car or Motorcycle in an Indiana Winter

Black car standing on winter road on an Indiana roadsideIt never fails. No matter how many Indiana winters a driver has experienced, he seems to forget everything when the first snowflake falls. Highway spin-outs, intersection pile-ups, and neighborhood fender-benders are common across Indiana when it snows or the roads are icy. We offer a few basic tips to get you safely through the winter—no matter what your vehicle of choice is.

Tips For Driving a Car in The Indiana Snow

Most newer cars have safety features that help drivers get through snow and ice, but you have to know how they work. AAA offers these tips for driving a car in the snow:

  • Drive slowly. Speed is the enemy on slick surfaces. Accelerating and decelerating slowly, taking turns carefully, and stopping gradually all reduce the risk of a spin-out on snow and ice.
  • Know your brakes. Anti-lock brakes work differently than regular brakes on snow and ice. Practice with your brakes in an empty parking lot before hitting the roads.
  • Increase following distance. It takes longer to stop on slick roads, so you want to leave plenty of room between yourself and the car ahead of you in case you need to stop. Also, you never know if the driver ahead will stay in control, so you want to allow space to avoid hitting him if he spins out.
  • Don’t stop on a hill. Get some momentum going before heading up an icy hill and don’t stop once you are on it. If you do, you may not be able to restart and may even slide backward.
  • Stay home. If at all possible, avoid driving altogether before roads have been treated or plowed. Even if you are a good driver, others you will encounter may not be.

You Can Safely Ride a Motorcycle Through the Winter—With These Tips

For some die-hard bikers, winter weather does not stop them from riding their vehicle of choice. Before snow hits your face shield, be prepared with the following tips:

  • Slow down. Just like in a car, everything takes longer on slick roads. Slow down when accelerating, cornering, braking, and swerving to avoid losing control of your bike.
  • Allow for less traction. Cold tires have less traction. When driving in cold weather, your tires will be much slower to warm up. Keep the tire pressure at a safe level and account for the fact that you have less traction.
  • Avoid snowstorms. No one should be driving in a blizzard, but bikers, in particular, have a difficult time seeing, controlling their bikes, and being seen by others in a snow squall.
  • Wear the right gear. Wear heavy-duty gear in the winter—you may even consider purchasing heated pants, gloves, and a jacket if you ride a lot in the cold. If you are shivering in inadequate gear, you will be less able to control your motorcycle.


James R. Keller
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