Two Winter Driving Hazards to Watch Out For

Winter Driving hazards

Two main factors contributing to dangerous driving conditions include wet roads and lack of visibility. Both present winter driving hazards and are reasons for winter driving accidents.

Roughly, ¼ of auto accidents are caused by adverse weather.

The USDOT Federal Highway Administration data lists an average of 1,705 deaths and 138,735 injuries per year due to snowy and icy roads. These figures represent the 10 year average between 2007 and 2016.

Wet Roads/Black Ice

Wet roads present hazards in all seasons, making it easier to skid and collide into other vehicles. In the winter time, wet roads reflect glare up to twice as much as a dry road. In addition, a snow-covered road increases the glare even more. But a bigger hazard is that of black ice.

Black Ice — clear water that has frozen on dark roadway –is found frequently on bridges, below overpasses and in areas surrounded by trees. It is found when temperatures are near or below freezing and can form even when not raining or snowing. We often refer to it as the deadliest of all winter driving hazards.

Look for:

  • Pavement that looks dry but appears darker in color.
  • Low-lying areas that may have water run-off from nearby trees or land.
  • Bridges and overpasses.
  • Underpasses and other road areas that are shaded from the sun. It is more prevalent on parts of the road that do not get direct sunlight.

Driving Tips:

  • Drive slow but don’t brake too quickly; this could lock up your brakes and cause you to lose traction
  • Decelerate by taking your foot slowly off the accelerator.
  • Make smooth steering movements.
  • Turn the wheel in the direction you want to go if your car is skidding.
  • The distance you need to stop your vehicle on black ice is about nine times the distance required to stop on a dry road.

When you have questions, we are here to help. Call us at (877) 284-6600.


Driving in snow, ice, sleet and rain makes driving that much more challenging. Precipitation and cloud cover can reduce light levels during the daytime. Low levels of light make it harder to judge distances and speeds. Oncoming headlights reduce your vision even more.

dangerous driving conditions wet roads lack of visibility winter driving hazards winter driving accidentsLack of Visibility. The combination of snow, slush, ice, rain and salt on your windshield is absolutely blinding. Lack of visibility is one of the top reasons for winter driving accidents. Inclement weather and precipitation significantly reduce visibility.

Driving tips:

  • Clear all windows, mirrors and even headlights of any snow and ice.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers are working well and will clear this mixture off your windshield.
  • Make sure your windshield washer fluid is always filled. You’ll find yourself constantly using it to clean your window.
  • A good rule of thumb is to drive at least eight seconds behind snowplows to avoid spray from the snow and salt.

Winter Weather Driving Tips

  • Always BUCKLE UP.
  • Slow down. Driving at reduced speeds is best practice, especially when on slippery roads and there is the potential of black ice.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of black ice. Black ice makes the road look like shiny new asphalt. Pavement should look grey-white in winter.
  • Do NOT use cruise control.
  • Drive with low-beam headlights on; this will also activate your tail lights making your vehicle more visible.
  • Allow extra stopping distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Stay in the right-hand lane except for passing.
  • Never make sudden movements. Changing lanes too quickly, jerky movements while braking or accelerating can cause skidding.
  • Slow down when you see signs warning that you are approaching a bridge, especially when you see signs such as Slippery When Wet.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published November 11, 2019. It was reviewed on November  9, 2022 and updated for content and accuracy. 

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