Winter Driving Tips

With winter weather predicted in our area, the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Nevada Highway Patrol Division are reminding motorists to drive safely in ice and snow.

Drivers are reminded to remove snow from vehicles and get updated road conditions before driving, as well as to drive at a slow, constant speed, use seatbelts and headlights and keep a safe distance from other vehicles and objects.

Further winter driving tips and information are available on the Nevada Department of Transportation’s new winter driving Web site at

Travelers can dial 511 from anywhere within Nevada before driving for up-to-the-minute weather, construction, traffic and road incident information.

The information is also available on-line at and on the radio in certain areas at 530 am and/or 1610 am.

“We will be out there, helping motorists and looking for anyone speeding or otherwise driving unsafely,” Nevada Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Chuck Allen explained.

“In this winter weather, it is important that drivers help keep the roads safe by driving slowly and safely for conditions,” NDOT Director Susan Martinovich explained.

The Nevada Department of Transportation dedicates nearly 40,000 man hours every winter to clearing snow from roads in the greater Reno and Tahoe area, while the Nevada Highway Patrol provides 24-hour traffic law enforcement services to the motoring public throughout urban and rural Nevada.

In 2006, there were five fatalities and 490 vehicle crashes statewide attributable to unsafe driving behaviors in snow and ice, such as driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, failing to maintain a lane and overcorrecting.

∙ Only travel in winter weather when necessary, leave enough time to safely reach your destination and plan your route to avoid snowy/icy areas and steep hills.

∙ Before driving, check weather and road conditions by dialing 511 within Nevada (1-877-NV-ROADS outside of state).

∙ Share your travel itinerary so others know when to expect you.

∙ Remove snow and ice from all vehicle windows, mirrors, lights, turn signals and license plates.

∙ Buckle up.

∙ Turn on headlights to see and be seen.

∙ Turn off cruise control.

∙ Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

∙ Avoid quick starts, stops and fast turns. Accelerate, brake and steer smoothly and gradually.

∙ Reduce speed. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.

∙ Do not slam on brakes. Apply steady pressure on ABS-equipped vehicles and pump brakes if necessary on non-ABS vehicles.

∙ Always comply with all posted chain requirements.

∙ If your vehicle has snow tires, install and use them between October 1 and April 30.

∙ Keep additional distance from other vehicles.

∙ Watch carefully for and use caution when following, passing or approaching snow removal equipment.

∙ Do not pass without good distance and sight clearance.

∙ Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas- they may freeze first.

∙ Maintain a high fuel level.

∙ If vehicle begins to skid, steer in direction of slide and slowly remove foot from accelerator.

∙ Be aware of black ice.

∙ If parked or stuck in snow, leave window slightly cracked for ventilation and be sure exhaust system is clear of snow.

Carry with you:

∙ Tire chains / tow strap ∙ Non-perishable foods / water
∙ Flashlight ∙ Blanket or sleeping bag
∙ Spare batteries ∙ Battery-operated radio
∙ Ice scraper ∙ Candles / matches or lighter
∙ Snow shovel
∙ Flares
∙ Jumper cables
∙ Small bag of sand for wheel traction
∙ Extra winter clothes / coat / gloves / socks
∙ First aid supplies / prescription medication
∙ State map for navigation in event of winter detour
∙ Cell phone for emergency communication

Check before you go:

∙ Wipers
∙ Tires / tread
∙ Brakes
∙ Lights
∙ Battery
∙ Radiator
∙ Belts / hoses
∙ Exhaust / fuel / ignition system
∙ Heater / defroster
∙ Thermostat
∙ Vehicle fluid levels
(anti-freeze oil, windshield and brake fluid)
∙ Full gasoline tank