Winter road - copyright:  Iakov Filimonov

Winter Driving Puts Strain on Drivers and Vehicles.

The main cause of accidents during winter months is failing to adjust to existing conditions. Low temperatures, snow, ice, and freezing rain put strain on both drivers and their vehicles. That is why preventive vehicle maintenance is so important.

Preventive Vehicle Maintenance

During the winter season, you should pay special attention to headlights, tires, heater and defroster. In many parts of USA, snow tires or chains are recommended on snowy roads. Carrying a snow brush, scraper, shovel, booster cables, and survival equipment is also a good idea. Read more here: How to Prepare for Winter Driving

The Basic Rule

Winter conditions require a number of changes from summer driving techniques. The general rule for driving on these roads is drive slowly and keep a following distance that is longer than the normal three seconds.

There are several other rules and safe practices you must be aware when dealing with poor weather and slippery roads. Some of them are covered in the following practice test questions. Make sure you know the answers to these sample questions and understand why you should follow these safe driving practices!

Winter Driving Quiz Based on Real DMV Questions

Question 1: You are driving on a highway with spots of ice. Suddenly your tires lose traction. What should you do?

  • A. Steer sharply to the side of the road.
  • B. Ease off the gas and avoid braking.
  • C. Brake firmly and steer straight ahead.
  • D. Increase your speed.

ANSWER: B. To regain traction, ease off the gas. If you start skidding, steer gently in the direction of the skid and the way you want the car to go.


Question 2: You are driving on a slippery road and approach a long downhill grade. What is the best thing to do?

  • A. Slow down before going downhill and use low gear.
  • B. Use your cruise control.
  • C. Turn off ignition and avoid sudden turns.
  • D. Coast in neutral and brake frequently.

ANSWER: A. A general rule for driving on slippery conditions is drive slowly. When going down a hill, slow down well ahead and use a low gear. You should not use cruise control on icy or slippery roads.


Question 3: Temperature is just around freezing. What should you do when approaching a sharp bend?

  • A. Brake hard to make sure you have traction.
  • B. Drive close to the center of the road.
  • C. Steer smoothly and avoid jerky movements.
  • D. Use your cruise control to keep speed.

ANSWER: C. Avoid sharp turns and jerky movements. If you need to use the brake, start braking early.


Question 4: How can you tell when you are driving over black ice?

  • A. Your steering feels lighter.
  • B. Your steering feels heavier.
  • C. Your tires make a rumbling noise.
  • D. Your vehicle is easier to brake.

ANSWER: A. Black ice makes a road look damp. When driving on black ice the steering feels lighter and the noise from your tires goes quiet. Your braking distance will be longer.

Question 5: What should you NOT do if it starts to snow?

  • A. Slow down.
  • B. Turn on your windshield wipers.
  • C. Turn on your headlights.
  • D. Activate your cruise control.

ANSWER: D. Snow makes the road slippery. You should NOT use cruise control on icy or slippery roads.


Question 6: Where are you most likely to be affected by a strong side wind?

  • A. On a highway with limited visibility.
  • B. On a busy city street.
  • C. On a long, open stretch of road.
  • D. On a narrow, curvy highway.

ANSWER: C. In windy conditions, care must be taken on open roads. Be careful around other road users who are likely to be affected, such as bicyclists, motorcyclists, high-sided trucks and vehicles towing trailers.


Question 7: What parts of a road often remain icy after the rest of the roadway has cleared?

  • A. Railgrade crossings.
  • B. Long, open stretches.
  • C. Intersections.
  • D. Bridges and overpasses.

ANSWER: D. Bridges and overpasses usually remain icy after the rest of the roadway is clear.


Question 8: What should you do if you are stranded outside a city in a winter blizzard?

  • A. Stay with your vehicle and wait for help.
  • B. Seek shelter under nearest bridge.
  • C. Abandon your car and walk to nearest town.

ANSWER: A. Sometimes, people die when they leave their vehicles to walk for help in a blizzard. When you stay with your vehicle, you are more likely to be found. Take on warm clothes or blankets. Run the engine now and then to get some heat. Keep a window slightly open for fresh air.


Question 9: Roads freeze more quickly when they are:

  • A. Frequently used.
  • B. Flat.
  • C. Curvy.
  • D. Shaded.

ANSWER: D. Shaded parts of the road and bridges usually freeze more quickly.


Photo credit: Iakov Filimonov