Tips for Commuting in the Winter Safely | Innova

Innova Electronics Tips for Winter Driving | Dr. Death Wobble Jeep Gladitor with KC HiLites and BFGoodrich Tires

Hacks to Improve Your Winter Commute


Winter driving is a very different experience than driving in the spring, summer, or falls. There are many ways to commute to work in the winter, such as by biking, walking, or carpooling. Some, however, may opt for the more traditional route of driving themselves. Winter driving presents several new challenges for drivers of all experience levels. While some say that owning an all-wheel drive vehicle makes winter driving easier, that’s not the whole story. After all, all-wheel drive can get you going on slippery roads – but it won’t help you out much when it’s time to stop.

In fact, your car doesn’t even have to be in motion for winter driving to become hazardous. Dead batteries, frozen doors, and other problems can make driving in the winter more frustrating – and more dangerous. That’s why we’ve assembled this helpful list of winter driving tips. It will prepare you and your car for the trials of cold-weather driving, and give you more confidence behind the wheel. With a little bit of planning and preparation, winter driving can be a breeze – albeit a very cold one!


Driving on Snow or on Ice

 Everyone knows that you should be careful on wet roads. When it’s raining, the road becomes more slippery, and your traction is compromised. You can say the same for snow and ice – in fact, it’s even more slippery. Here are some tips to make sure that you and your car make it home safe and sound.

  • Slow Down. It will take longer to accelerate and longer to stop. You may also notice that turning becomes more difficult as well. This is definitely a situation in which “slow and steady wins the race” applies. There’s probably a reason our folks read us that story when we were kids.
  • Increase Following Distance. Keep plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. Since every maneuver takes more space and more time, you need to increase your safety cushion to reduce the possibility of an accident.
  • Plan Ahead. Since maneuvers take more time than usual, it’s important to plan your maneuvers ahead of time. Panic stops and quick changes of direction are a bad idea – and, in many cases, won’t even be an option. Planning ahead prevents you from being in situations where those maneuvers are necessary.
  • Commit to Hills. There will be times when you shouldn’t stop, like when you’re going up a hill. If you stop, you’ll lose your momentum, and you may find it difficult to get moving again. Worse yet, you may actually find yourself sliding backwards!
  • Pay Attention. You should never drive distracted, but it’s even more important to remain alert during harsh winter driving conditions. In addition to a lack of traction, snowstorms may hamper visibility and prevent you from seeing as far as you normally do. Put your phone down. If you’ll excuse the pun, stay frosty.
  • Keep Your Car Clean. It’s tempting to brush off the bare minimum of snow and be on your way, but it’s disrespectful to other drivers when they have to follow your car and drive into a blinding white cloud of snow. In addition, slush and salt likes to build up on your headlights and cloud your windshield. Keeping your car clean in the winter improves visibility for everyone.
    Innova Blog | Winter driving tips | How to drive in the snow
  • Maintain Your Car. A car that is in good mechanical condition is less likely to give you trouble when the weather gets bad. Besides, you don’t want to be out fixing problems in the cold when it’s snowy and the days are shorter. Make sure your car is as healthy as it can be before the weather gets bad.
  • Invest in Quality Tires. Whether your car is all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive, a good set of weather-appropriate tires will help you make the most of the limited traction available. Even a powerful, rear-wheel drive sports car can easily tame icy roads with a good set of snow tires. At the very least, ensure that you have a set of all-season tires with plenty of tread remaining.
  • When the weather is really bad, only go out when it’s necessary. Reschedule trips for days with better weather if you can. It’s better to cancel plans and arrive alive at a later date than not at all.


Items to Have in Your Car

 You’ve prepared your brain with safe driving tips. Now, it’s time to prepare your car. Preparing a cold weather emergency kit for your car isn’t expensive, but when you need it, it will prove invaluable. With this handy list, you’ll have everything you need if you’re snowed in with your car.

The Bare Necessities 

  • Snow brush and ice scraper
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Hand warmers
  • Extra gloves
  • Blankets
  • Phone charger
  • Extra food and water


Optional Extras

  • Portable battery jump pack
  • Compact snow shovel
  • Traction mats or rock salt
  • Extra layers of winter clothing


What to Wear

Your car may be warm and dry, but it’s important to dress appropriately for winter driving. If you become stranded or your car won’t start, you could freeze and develop hypothermia. Dress warm to prevent a minor inconvenience like a dead battery from becoming a serious emergency. We recommend bundling up when the weather gets chilly. We hate to sound like your mom but remember to always wear a coat!Innova Winter Driving tips | Wearing warm clothes

  • Heavy winter coat
  • Gloves
  • Earmuffs
  • Scarf
  • Waterproof boots


Make Use of Tech

There’s a lot of technology that you can take advantage of to keep Mother Nature from putting a damper on your plans. Even if you’ve bundled up, prepared an emergency kit, and practiced your winter driving techniques, there’s even more you can do to make sure you’re ready. Utilizing apps and handheld devices, you can plan your trip accordingly, and have the confidence to know you’ll arrive safely. 


Innova Blog Winter Driving with GPS
  • Weather Radar. A weather radar app lets you observe weather patterns now and, in the future, to make an informed decision about planning your trip.
  • Whether it’s a phone app, integrated into your dashboard, or a standalone unit, most GPS systems will advise you of traffic patterns and re-route you away from trouble spots.
  • Predictive Maintenance Devices. Scan tools, like the ones offered by Innova Electronics, will give you valuable information about how your car is behaving at any given moment. You can investigate check engine lights to determine the fault, and some units will even offer repair advice. In addition, you can make sure that your battery is in good working order. Cold weather can make old, ailing batteries really struggle to start your car, and wintertime is a notorious killer of old batteries. Simply locate the OBD port on your vehicle and reference the code library to easily identify and diagnose common issues. Some also come with a compatible app.


Alternative Transportation

If it’s absolutely imperative that you get where you need to go, then it’s a good idea to make a contingency plan in case your car won’t start or is stuck in your driveway. Having a backup plan gives you peace of mind when the going gets rough.


  • The worst doesn’t end just because there’s snow on the ground and ice on the road. You still need to get to work, so it’s worth finding out if any of your coworkers would be interested in starting a carpool. It’s an especially good idea if they have a vehicle that’s better equipped for winter weather than yours. Be sure to be a good carpooler and chip in for gas and buy them lunch every now and again.
  • If you live close to where you need to go, walking is an option. Just be sure to dress appropriately to avoid frostbite, take your time, and be careful to avoid slipping and falling.
  • Bicycling is also a great option, but just like when you’re driving your car, you need to allow more time and space for maneuvers due to reduced traction. You also need to dress extra warmly, as the air can get very cold at speed.
  • Public Transportation. Taking the bus or train is a great option, too. Sometimes, the best idea is to leave the driving to the professionals. If you don’t feel comfortable or confident driving in the snow, there’s no shame in leaving your car at home and taking the bus. Plus, you won’t have to brush the snow off or scrape your windows. That’s a win/win any way you slice it.