Ministry of Transportation / Ministère des Transports
Home > Bus Handbook > Driving at night and in bad weather > Tips for driving in blowing snow and whiteout conditions
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I.Driving at night and in bad weather
Tips for driving in blowing snow and whiteout conditions

Before you drive — and during your trip — check weather forecasts and road reports. If there is a weather warning, or reports of poor visibility and driving conditions, delay your trip until conditions improve, if possible. If you get caught driving in blowing snow or a whiteout, follow these safe driving tips:


  • Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits the conditions.
  • Make sure the full lighting system of your vehicle is turned on.
  • Use your low-beam headlights. High beams reflect off the ice particles in the snow, making it harder to see.
  • If you have fog lights on your vehicle, use them, in addition to your low beams.
  • Be patient. Avoid passing, changing lanes and crossing traffic.
  • Increase your following distance. You will need extra space to brake safely.
  • Stay alert. Keep looking as far ahead as possible.
  • Reduce the distractions in your vehicle. Your full attention is required.
  • Keep your windows and mirrors clean. Use defroster and wipers to maximize your vision.
  • Try to get off the road when visibility is near zero. Pull into a safe parking area if possible.


  • Don’t stop on the travelled portion of the road. You could become the first link in a chain-reaction collision.
  • Don’t attempt to pass a vehicle moving slowly or speed up to get away from a vehicle that is following too closely.


  • Watch your speed. You may be going faster than you think. If so, reduce speed gradually.
  • Leave a safe braking distance between you and the vehicle ahead.
  • Stay alert, remain calm and be patient.
  • If visibility is decreasing rapidly, do not stop on the road. Look for an opportunity to pull off the road into a safe parking area and wait for conditions to improve.
  • If you become stuck or stranded in severe weather, stay with your vehicle for warmth and safety until help arrives. Open a window slightly for ventilation. Run your motor sparingly. Use your emergency flashers.
  • Be prepared and carry a winter driving survival kit that includes items such as warm clothing, non-perishable energy foods, flashlight, shovel and blanket.
  • It is important to look ahead and watch for clues that indicate you need to slow down and anticipate slippery road conditions.