8 Tips for Driving Through a Winter Storm (with GIFs)

Snow is Beautiful—and can be Deadly. Read on for eight ways to get home safely.

woman stuck in snow

Winter Storm Juno is bearing down on seven states in the Northeast as we speak in a way that looks a little something like this, scientifically speaking:

But all joking aside, Juno has already caused serious travel headaches, and each year, winter snow storms cause approximately four percent of vehicle crashes—or 211,188 crashes, 58,011 injuries, and 769 deaths. Blizzards are costly, too: They’ve cost the country approximately $1.2 billion every year since 1995, according to Buzzfeed. AAA released a list of eight tips to help you navigate driving through the snow like a champ — and we liked them so much we wanted to present them to you in full. (With added GIFs, because if we can’t give you a snow day, at least we can make you smile.)

AAA’s 8 Tips for Snowy Road Domination

1.) Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

2.) Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.

Snow storms cause 211,188 crashes, 58,011 injuries, and 769 deaths each year.

3.) The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

4.) Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

5.) Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.

6.) Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.

7.) Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

8.) Stay home (and snuggle someone). If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

If you do happen to get stuck, AAA also explains how to prep for long-distance winter trips so you can stay warm, safe, and feeling like this: