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Some vehicles are better at navigating snowy conditions, but the key to safe winter driving is being prepared and ensuring your vehicle is in good shape. 

If you watch the TV series Ice Road Truckers, you might know of Alex Debogorski, one of the best truck drivers on the show. He shares a few tips about driving safely in the winter.

The most important winter driving tip, according to ‘Ice Road Truckers’ alum Alex Debogorski

An SUV drives on an icy road in Toledo, Ohio, in winter 2005
An SUV drives on an icy road in Toledo, Ohio | J.D. Pooley/Getty Images

Alex Debogorski is famous for his stint on the reality show Ice Road Truckers. If there’s anyone who knows how to navigate wintry weather, it’s the big-rig driver. 

He drove on frozen lakes and rivers from Alaska to Canada to the Arctic for at least 40 years, Zipcar reports. Nine seasons of the popular History Channel series showcase his strategic driving skills. 

His most memorable but scariest moments, he says, are when he comes across other accidents and has to provide help. The last thing he wants to see are injured drivers. 

The biggest tip he offers for winter driving is to have good windshield wipers and all-season wiper fluid that doesn’t freeze below 32 degrees. A key part of safe driving is clear visibility, so keep your windshield as clear as possible.

Debogorski also says your car should have good working headlights and taillights. Always keep snow off of them because conditions tend to get darker in the wintertime, and you need the light to see the road clearly as you drive. It also helps others see you when visibility is low from snowy conditions. 

What other tips does Debogorski offer?

Debogorski is a firm believer in getting your vehicle serviced for winter driving. Checking your tires is one item that needs to be on the list. 

If you live in an area where snow and ice are winter staples, a good set of all-season or snow tires is a must. They grip the road better so you can decrease the chances of sliding. 

You should also change your car’s oil, check all the fluid levels, and ensure the radiator has enough coolant. If your vehicle is due, get the radiator flushed. Another tip is to dress warmly when you go anywhere in case you get stranded in the cold. 

Despite your best efforts, your vehicle might still get stuck in the snow. If this happens, the first thing you need to do is get out and check the exhaust pipe. If it’s covered and you’re sitting in the car while the engine is running, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

It also wouldn’t hurt to have an emergency kit in your vehicle. If you get stranded and have to wait for help, you should have everything you need to pass the time. 

The best practice for winter driving

You often hear experts tell you what to do when your vehicle slides on a slippery road. Debogorski says the most important thing is not to get into a situation like that in the first place. 

He explains that you should take turns, accelerate, and brake slower than you would normally. The slower you perform those maneuvers, the more in control you’ll likely have of the vehicle. 

Always be ready for anything to happen. Keep your vehicle well-charged or fueled. The last thing you want is to get stranded in a winter storm because you left with a nearly empty tank or little charge in the battery. 

Winter driving can be scary, so don’t take any chances. Service your car, make sure your tires aren’t bald, and keep your wipers in good working order. Planning ahead will help prevent accidents on the road.