Safe Winter Driving Tips & Preparedness

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office reminds motorists to stay safe in the winter by also following these driving safety tips:

  • During a snowstorm, do not travel unless absolutely necessary. Residents should stay home and off the roads so that the snow removal crews can do their job plowing the roadways. If you do have to make a trip, ensure someone is aware of your route of travel.
  • Use extreme caution when driving. You may not be able to stop as quickly as normal on the snow-covered or wet pavement.
  • Always keep the gas tank topped off. When it gets to half, fill it up.
  • Carry a cellular phone. Your cell phone can be used during emergencies and for notifying those expecting your arrival in case there are weather delays.
  • Always buckle-up. Your seat belt can be the best protection against drivers who are tense and in a hurry because of weather conditions.
  • Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights - even the hood and roof - before driving.
  • Pay attention. Don't try to out-drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
  • Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows - stay back a safe stopping distance and don't pass on the right.
  • As the roadways are cleared, large banks of snow line the streets and intersections and may block your vision.
  • Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved.
  • Be especially cautious around intersections because visibility may be obscured due to the large snow.
  • Falling temperatures as evening approaches contribute to icy conditions or black ice.
  • Watch for pedestrians. If there is a large volume of snow, sidewalks may be impassable which increases pedestrian traffic along roadways.

Have an emergency kit in your vehicle.

 A winter driving kit should include the following items:

  • Bag of sand or salt (or kitty litter)
  • Blanket
  • Booster cables
  • Call Police" or other help signs or brightly colored banners.
  • Extra clothing, including hat and wind-proof pants, and warm footwear
  • Extra windshield wiper fluid appropriate for sub-freezing temperatures
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight and a portable flashing light (and extra batteries)
  • Fuel line de-icer (methanol, also called methyl alcohol or methyl hydrate)
  • Ice scraper
  • Matches and emergency candles. Only use these with a window opened to prevent build-up of carbon monoxide.
  • Road maps
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Snack bars or other "emergency" food and water
  • Snow brush
  • Snow shovel
  • Tow Straps
  • Traction mats
  • Warning devices such as flares or emergency lights