5 Ways You Can Make Winter Driving Safer, per Consumer Reports

Car safety should be a top priority, but winter driving conditions do not make safety easy. Luckily, there are several features you can add to your vehicle or include in your new model before winter’s weather makes driving difficult. Look at Consumer Report’s top five features you want in cold climates.

People driving during winter on a highway.
Driving during winter. | Cooper Neill via Getty Images

Best winter driving features

Consumer Reports listed the top features the auto industry has added to vehicles to make driving safer in cold climates, including interior and exterior features. However, a few features, like a heated windshield or beam windshield wipers, are rare. That is because they either are distracting, incompatible with motorists’ toll passes, or expensive to replace correctly.

Consumer Reports’ top five features list includes heated seats, heated side mirrors, windshield wiper deicers, and the controversial remote start. Find out more about each item and how it can benefit you to add these to your vehicle for better visibility and comfort during winter driving.

Exterior heated elements for car safety

When it is freezing outside, ensuring you can see through the sleet or snow is essential. Start by trusting that your vehicle can begin the process without you running out into the weather.

Remote start features are the perfect way to defrost and warm the cabin and begin to heat the essential driving gear. Before leaving the vehicle the day before, set your heater and heating elements so that when you turn on the ignition, the defrosting will automatically begin.

One of the settings you might want to leave on to start on a frosty morning is the heated side mirrors. Instead of scraping off the ice and possibly scratching the mirror, heated side mirrors quickly warm up to melt away the offending ice and snow around them. Increase your car safety but being able to see through your side mirrors.

Seeing through your side mirrors isn’t enough if you can’t see through your windshield. Some vehicles come equipped with windshield wiper deicers, heated washer jets, or heated windshield fluid tanks and nozzles. Warm water and unstuck wiper blades can clear your view quickly, providing a better experience for your winter drive.

Interior heated elements for comfort


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Next, we look into heated seats which used to only come in leather seat options. Now some manufacturers have added the opportunity to cloth seating to help more people warm faster. Especially if you do not have a remote start, heated seats can warm your body faster than your vehicle can heat the cabin. Some models even come with a backseat with heated seats so the whole family can stay warm.

Just for the driver, a perk of some luxury vehicles includes a heated steering wheel. Imagine having all that snow to take off the vehicle and getting inside with numb and cold fingers. Driving isn’t safe when you can’t feel your hands or wear slippery and wet mittens or gloves. So stay warm with the rim of your steering wheel, ready to bring life back into your frozen fingers.

Ensure winter driving car safety

Even with advanced features like heated windshields, mirrors, seats, and wipers, there are times when drivers should not be on the road. Before venturing out, listen to public service announcements, stay safe driving in snow or ice, and be prepared for emergencies. Although winter driving can be fun, outfit your vehicle with the best winter driving gear before the temperatures drop!