Holiday Season Preparations: Winter Driving

Jay Stillman

2 min read

November is often the month when we remember how to drive in snow and freezing rain. Others have weaker memories or are new drivers with little experience in winter driving. That is how the accident rate jumps in bad weather. So what is your best defense?

At Stillman and Friedland we too are planning our Thanksgiving menu with all the trimmings, but we are also checking the tires and putting a few helpful items in the car just in case. We have summarized the key helpful pointers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for you:

Are You Recall-Safe?

  • Check notices for recalls of your car’s year, make and model. Rough weather puts an extra strain on weak systems. Fender-benders are more common in wet and slippery weather, so check up on your airbag system in case activation is a problem. Takata airbag recalls are continuing.
  • Check by VIN or by model
  • Better yet, sign up for alerts here to eliminate guesswork, but know that not all cars are covered. Models over 15 years old and many foreign imports are excluded as well as very recent recalls for which VIN numbers are not yet available. Check manufacturer’s website for further information.


  • Make sure your winter tires are in good shape.
  • Check anti-freeze.
  • Have a stand-by bag of road salts for added weight and getting out of an icy spot.

Safety First:

  • Update your “on-board” First Aid kit.
  • Add a blanket and flashlight to your emergency gear in case of a breakdown. The average November low in Tennessee is 39° F, and it gets dark pretty early these days. Both of these items will come in handy as you wait for a battery jump or tow.

Charge It:

  • Driving an electric or hybrid car? Keep your battery charged and don’t forget the warmer!
  • Here is a hot tip—the NHTSA suggests warming up the car for passenger comfort while the vehicle is still charging. This will minimize the drain on the battery while you are on the road.

Acquaint Yourself with Wintery Conditions:

  • Practice in a side road or parking lot to re-orient yourself to wet and icy conditions
  • If you have a teenager who got his or her license over the warm months, take your teen out to learn how to handle slips and skids. If you don’t have time in your schedule, set up a session with a driving instructor—it can be a life-saver.
    Remember, the same basic rule applies year-round:
  • Drive only when alert and focused. Avoid intoxicants and distraction; both are dangerous!

Stay safe in the holiday season … Because we care.