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If you’re driving in a blizzard, safety comes first. Always drive slowly, ensure you have a fully-stocked emergency kit in your car, and don’t hesitate to pull over in a safe spot if you’re feeling stressed or uncomfortable.
When the snow starts falling, it’s important to be prepared for whatever may come your way. The best way to stay safe in a blizzard is to stay off the road—but that isn’t always an option. Thankfully, the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry is here with tips for driving in a blizzard.
Grab your winter emergency kit, make sure you’ve got your roadside assistance plan in place, and get ready to hit the road (slowly, of course!).
Prepare before you go
Safety is where caution meets preparation, so prepare accordingly!
Have an emergency kit
When you’re driving in the winter, always have an emergency kit in your trunk or, even better, your back seat. Your kit should include the following items:
- Flashlight and fresh batteries
- Warm clothes and blankets
- Bottled water and non-perishable food
- A bright flag or scarf to tie to your antenna (in bold, saturated colors—no whites or greys)
- Snow tools—including a shovel and a windshield scraper
Install snow tires or chains
If you don’t have snow tires, make sure you know how to install snow chains. They attach to your tires and provide added control to cars that might normally slide in the snow or ice.
Practice installing the chains until it’s second nature. Pulled over on the side of the road with snowfall, wind, and poor visibility for other drivers is not the right place to do this for the first time.
Do some basic maintenance
Make sure your car is prepared with some basic maintenance. While they might seem like small things, they can mean the difference between safety and disaster.
- Replace your windshield wipers
- Check the tire pressure and fill tires if needed
- Top off the antifreeze
- Clear out your exhaust pipe
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The most important thing you can do in a blizzard or heavy snow conditions is to drive slowly. This is especially true if you have chains on your tires—in this case, your car should not exceed 25 mph.
Don’t let other drivers pressure you into going faster. Drive at a speed that allows you to keep maximum control of the car at all times.
Keep your distance
Keep 8 to 10 seconds behind other drivers during snowy conditions.
In normal conditions, drivers usually follow the "three-second rule," where you’re at a safe distance when you pass a landmark three seconds after the car in front of you. In a blizzard, visibility may be poor and sudden stops or loss of control can happen in an instant—so leave even more space.
Don’t use cruise control
As tempting as it may be, don’t use cruise control. In wet or icy conditions, it can cause your tires to spin—and you can lose control of the car.
Stop if you must
If you’re feeling too uncomfortable or stressed to stay on the road while driving in a blizzard, pull over. You should also pull over if visibility is too poor for you to drive safely. Move onto the shoulder as far as you safely can and put on your hazard lights.
If you have a brightly colored flag or scarf, tie it to your antenna or catch it in a rolled-up window. This helps alert other drivers to your presence and alerts emergency services to your situation.
Pro Tip Stay in your car and use the car’s heater if you must—but be aware of your gas level. Running out of gas can spell trouble and leave you stranded.
Why you need roadside assistance when driving in a blizzard
No one likes being stuck on the side of the road—but it’s even worse when you’re in snowy winter weather. Thankfully, there’s roadside assistance.
Jerry has your back with comprehensive emergency roadside assistance for just $6.99 per month. It includes everything from towing and battery jumpstarts to fuel delivery and lockout services. You’ll even get Uber credits!
Why wait for help when you can summon the help you need with a simple tap?
"Jerry blew my mind, honestly. From start to finish, using the app took me 10 minutes and I ended up with $100 of savings a month. Best of all, customer service answered all my questions about rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance." ––Savanna R.
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