Safe Driving Tips


  • Look ahead as far as possible.
  • Try to see where the road goes by looking at treetops and poles.
  • Brake well before corners.
  • Always follow at a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you to allow for maximum braking distance, particularly on roads with snow or ice.
  • Allow for more distance to reduce speed going downhill than uphill.
  • Use lower gear going downhill to reduce stress on brakes.
  • Take your foot off the brake pedal after slowing for a turn to allow brakes to cool off a little.
  • Use turnouts when cars are behind you.
  • The speed you drive is your choice, but please help traffic flow by making passing easier, whether you are passing or being passed.
  • It is much safer to go slow into a turn and accelerate out of the turn.
  • Do not “cut corners.” You never know when a vehicle will be coming the other way.


  • Bring snow chains. Chains may be required at any time. You may want to take along a flashlight if you are driving at night. Make sure you know if your vehicle is front or rear-wheel drive.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition.
  • Check your antifreeze and be ready for colder temperatures.
  • You may want to add a special solvent to your windshield washer reservoir to prevent ice from forming.
  • Check your tires. Make sure they are properly inflated and the tread is in good condition.
  • Other suggested items to carry in your car are an ice scraper or commercial de-icer, a broom for brushing snow off your vehicle, a small shovel to free your car if it is “snowed in,” sand or burlap for traction if your wheels should become mired in snow and an old towel to clean your hands.
  • It is also a good idea to take along water, food, warm blankets, and extra clothing. A lengthy delay will make you glad you have them.
  • If you have a cell phone, pre-load the CalTrans Highway Information Network phone number for convenient, updated road conditions. 1-800-427-7623
  • Allow extra time. Trips to the mountains can take longer during winter than at other times of the year, especially if you encounter storm conditions or icy roads.
  • Snow and ice make stopping distances much longer, so leave more space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. Also, keep in mind that shady spots can be icy when other areas are not.
  • Be more observant. Visibility is often limited in winter by weather conditions. Slow down and watch for other vehicles. Keep in mind that other drivers may have limited visibility as well.