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Missouri Department of Transportation

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Winter Driving Tips 

Driving on snowy or icy roads requires special attention to safety. Although it's impossible to have ideal road conditions 365 days a year, there are certain precautions you can take to make winter driving safer. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you get ready for the hazards of winter.

Before the Trip
  • Winterize your car with fresh antifreeze, a good battery, a properly operating exhaust system and oil that will withstand the rigors of cold weather.
  • If possible, avoid driving until the roads are cleared and treated. You don't want to slide off the road, and we don't want to plow around disabled vehicles.
  • Do a thorough pretrip inspection of your vehicle, paying special attention to your tires, brakes, windshield wipers and windshield wiper fluid.
Equip Your Vehicle With:
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • A firstaid kit with a pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • Blankets and/or sleeping bags
  • Extra mittens or gloves, socks, a warm cap and rain gear
  • A small sack of sand to use for traction under your wheels
  • A small shovel
  • Booster cables
  • Small tools - pliers, wrench, screwdriver
  • A brightly colored cloth to use as a flag
  • Nonperishable foods
  • Bottled water
  • Matches and candles
During the Trip
  • Obey speed limits; don't speed.
  • Use common sense, and adjust your speed to  suit driving conditions
  • Give snowplows plenty of room, and don't pass them.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Remember that driving is most dangerous when temperatures are near 32 degrees.
  • Watch for other vehicles having problems with road conditions.
  • Keep mirrors, windows and lights clean; keep your lights on.
  • Don't pass other vehicles on or near bridges.
  • Keep your fuel tank at least half full.
  • If you don't feel comfortable driving, park at the first safe place.
If You're Trapped in Your Car
  • Stay in the vehicle. Don't leave to search for help. It's easy to become disoriented and lost in blowing and drifting snow.
  • Display a trouble sign. Hang a brightly colored cloth on the antenna.
  • Run the engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Run the heater and turn on the dome light only when the vehicle is running.
  • Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a window slightly for ventilation.
  • Clap hands and move your arms and legs occasionally. Don't stay in one position for too long.
  • If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.
  • Huddle together for warmth.
  • Use newspapers, maps and even car mats for added insulation.
Call 1-888 Ask MODOT to receive road condition updates during regular business hours.

Learn more about MoDOT's snowplowing operation and get tips on keeping your driveway clear and winter driving by following the links below.

Road Conditions
Go here to see a map of road conditions for major Missouri routes

Who's First? MoDOT's Plowing Priorities
How does MoDOT decide whose road gets plowed first?

How to Keep Your Driveway Clear

There is a right way to shovel your driveway

About Us
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Missouri Department of Transportation
Central Office
105 W. Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65102
1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636)
1-866-831-6277 (Motor Carriers Services)
Driver's License Offices
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Missouri State Government
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