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Essential Winter Driving Tips

It’s not always cold during Austin winters, but when it is, Austinites are often left feeling unprepared for the weather. Rain or shine, ice or snow, we want you to feel safe on the road. So your friends at Leif Johnson Ford are here with some ways to help you and your vehicle survive even the chilliest of days!

Tips for Driving Safe in Winter Weather


  • Make sure your vehicle is winterized before driving. This means having your Leif Johnson Ford service department check the battery, antifreeze, wipers, windshield wiper fluid, ignition system, thermostat, headlights, hazard lights, exhaust, etc.
  • Ensure that your car is running well. Change your oil, check your battery and make sure your gas tank is always full. This will help keep you from becoming stranded in bad weather. Again, your Leif Johnson Ford team would be happy to help get your vehicle into the best condition possible.
  • Plan in advance. When weather conditions are poor, it’s important to always be prepared. Check weather conditions in your area before leaving the house, and always make sure to take the safest route to wherever you are heading.
  • Have an emergency kit handy at all times. A cell phone and charger, battery operated or hand-crank radio, jumper cables, a spare tire, flares, blankets and sleeping bags, flashlights with extra batteries, a first aid kid, water, warm clothing, matches, sand, a windshield scraper and brush, a basic toolkit, tow rope, compass and road map are all great essentials to have on hand.
  • Ford owners, have Sync with 911 assistance handy. This assists drivers to place a call to emergency operators in three different languages and also gives GPS coordinates of the car’s position in case of an accident.
  • Buckle up. This may seem like a given, but it’s something that is all too often forgotten. No matter how close you are to home, always make sure everyone in your vehicle has their seatbelt fastened.
  • Be extra careful when driving on bridges and overpasses Elevated roadways are the first to freeze, so always use caution when driving in bad weather.
  • Always leave a large space to traffic when driving up hills. If you need to stop while ascending a hill, it can be difficult to pull away again.
  • Reduce speed and keep a farther distance from other vehicles. On slick roadways, a vehicle needs 3x more space to stop.
  • If your vehicle begins to skid, gently steer in the direction of the skid. This will allow you to regain control. You may feel the need to jerk the car in the opposite direction, but make sure to resist this urge. Straighten your vehicle when you have regained traction.
  • Do not make sharp turns or brake suddenly. This can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Pump the brakes when stopping. This will keep your tires from spinning on the ice and you will reduce the risk of losing traction and fishtailing.
  • If there is ice on the road, take extra precautions to be smooth with the steering and the throttle. Abrupt movements can cause slides on slippery surfaces.

These simple but effective tips will allow you to be safe, regardless of the weather Texas decides to throw our way! If there is anything we can do to help winterize your vehicle, contact us at 512-454-3711 and make an appointment today!

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