Video: Tips for Driving Smart in the Winter

We all hate driving in winter, and we really hate it when that means driving in snow, ice or sleet. We’ve got survival tips to help you slog your way until spring.

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Tip No. 1

Check your battery: Cold is your battery’s worst enemy, and the last thing you need is to get stranded on a cold, dark winter’s night. If you don’t want to brave the cold to check under the hood, plenty of auto part stores and repair facilities will check it for free.

Tip No. 2

Check your tires: Bald tires can be downright treacherous in good conditions. Add snow and ice, and the results could be tragic. Stay on the pavement by installing a good set of all-season or dedicated winter tires. They boost traction and they’ll keep you out of the ditch. Remember: Summer tires are no good in the cold.

Tip No. 3

Check your lights: Common sense tells you to clear the snow off your headlights after a snow storm. But clean headlights simply aren’t enough — make sure they’re pointing in the right direction. If your headlights aren’t illuminating the road, ask your mechanic to realign them. You’ve got to be able to see the road to stay on the road.

Tip No. 4

Check your visibility: If you can’t see, stop. Check your windshield wipers and washer fluid, and replace both if you need to. Driving down the road with frayed wipers combined with no fluid is a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t take long, but it pays to be prepared.

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Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a launch veteran, leads the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE.  Email Joe