Tennessee’s diverse weather climate can lead to rain, sleet, snow and other precipitation during the winter months that may make driving particularly hazardous. Unfortunately, drivers and passengers throughout the state are often injured as a result of weather-related accidents, many of which could have been prevented. However, drivers can take steps to help keep themselves, their passengers and the occupants of other vehicles on the roads safe when driving in inclement conditions.

Safe winter driving requires planning. Drivers are advised to make sure they know how to get where they are going and allow themselves plenty of time to travel to their destinations without having to rush. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, checking the traffic and road conditions, as well as the weather may help drivers determine when they need to leave to get to their destinations safely.

Having supplies can be important in the event of an emergency while on the road. A broom, snow shovel, ice scraper, and kitty litter or sand may help in the event people’s vehicles get stuck in the snow. It is also recommended that drivers keep blankets for protection from the cold and flares, emergency markers or other such warning devices, which may be used to signal to other drivers that their vehicles are incapacitated.

Preventative maintenance is vital for vehicles during the winter months. According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, drivers should conduct a thorough vehicle inspection before the start of the winter season. Breaking down in poor weather conditions is especially dangerous, which is why it is important to check a vehicle’s tires, brakes, lights, wiper blades, hoses, fluids and belts to ensure they are in good working order.