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Most of us agree that an AWD or 4WD SUV or truck will do much better than an FWD car when the snow arrives. Once you have the traction problem solved, it’s important to ensure you have a vehicle with the right car safety features for driving in the snow. What features should you look for in the car you’ll drive when winter arrives?

Adaptive headlights are one of the most important car safety features for winter driving in the snow

Driving on the Road in Winter, lots of snow on the road
Driving on the Road in Winter | Wiki Commons

You might not think adaptive headlights are a safety feature, but they are. The ability to see while you drive is extremely important for your survival. Kelley Blue Book tells us these headlights come in a couple of varieties. One type turns with the steering wheel to point in the direction of the turn, while the other version uses cornering lights on the sides of the headlights.

Driving in winter weather can make blind-spot monitoring even more important

Winter driving is around the corner, and winterization practices like minding tire pressure is essential.
Winter driving in the UK requires similar care to driving in the US | Christopher Furlong, Getty Images

Under normal driving conditions, blind-spot monitoring aids you with warnings that other vehicles are in your blind zone. If you have a modern car, you’ve also got a lane departure warning to keep you from crossing lane lines. When the snow arrives, the lane lines might not be visible to the sensors, but other cars still are. Blind-spot monitoring can help you avoid a collision in foul weather.

Heated items are some of the most important car safety features for driving in snow

If you know that you face long stretches of winter weather every year, checking off the boxes for heated items while car shopping is a good idea. Items that truly benefit your winter driving when heated are the windshield wipers, mirrors, and washer nozzles. Typically, if you have heated wipers, you’ll also have a heated windshield. These items come in handy when clearing snow and ice from your car.

Driving in foul weather is easier with rain-sensing wipers

Driving range in cold weather
A highway sign warns of dangerous winter driving conditions | Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images

Modern vehicles have sensors made to engage your wipers when rain or snow occurs. This feature is called rain-sensing wipers. You won’t need to take your hands off the wheel to turn on the wipers, which can make a huge difference when the road is icy and slick, and snow is falling.

Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking is a must for winter weather

One of the most important car safety features for driving in foul weather is a forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. This feature aids you in avoiding a front-end collision and can bring your vehicle to a stop before you’re in an accident.

Some items aren’t car safety features, but they give you comfort when driving in the snow

Heated Car Seats Button, great for winter driving
Heated Car Seats Button | Wiki Commons

Choosing some of the above items means you’re likely adding a cold-weather package to your vehicle. To go with the safety features, you’ll find some comfort items made for the colder months of the year. Some items you’ll find that make your winter driving better are:

  • Automatic temperature controls
  • Heated seats and a heated steering wheel
  • Remote engine starting

It’s possible to find a vehicle with all of these car safety features, ensuring you have the best chance of driving in the snow without being in an accident.

Next, check out some of the best diesel trucks you can buy, or watch this video below with some winter driving tips from Consumer Reports.

This article was updated on 12/8/2022.