Winter Driving Tips

January 27, 2014

Wintertime in South Dakota sure is beautiful, especially with a fresh layer of snow covering the ground. But, winter can also be dangerous if you are not prepared before getting on the road. It is important to prepare your vehicle with the proper supplies and to practice safe winter driving. It is also very important that you know what to do in case you are stranded or in an accident. Our Black Hills campground gives you some great winter driving tips to keep you safer on the roads:

Winterize Your Vehicle

Of course it is important to maintain your vehicle all year round, but also make sure to get it winterized in order to avoid dangerous situations when traveling in cold temperatures. The following should be checked and up to date:


*Fuel system

*Fluid levels

*Ignition system

*Exhaust system


*Wiper blades and fluids

*Tire tread and pressure

*Cooling system




Last Minute Preparations

Make sure to keep your gas tank as full as possible at all times. Full tanks actually prevent condensation, so you will be a little better off in case you are stranded and need to keep your vehicle running. Also, charge your phone and keep a car charger with you. Not only could it be of help to you, but you could also call for assistance for other people in emergencies. Basic winter driving equipment that is absolutely necessary is: scraper and brush, a shovel, tow chain, a bag of sand or a carpet for traction, and jumper cables. Other essential things to keep in your car are: road flares, a blanket, warm boots and clothing, a flashlight with extra batteries, and non-perishable food such as energy bars or canned food. Before heading out, make sure to clear all windows and lights of frost and snow.

Safe Winter Driving Tips

It is important to pay attention and remember that the posted speed limits are referring to dry pavement. It is easy to lose traction and start skidding, so always leave plenty of room for stopping and a safe distance between vehicles. Use the brakes carefully and brake early. Don’t cut in too early when passing a large truck or semi, since heavy vehicles need longer brake distance. Also, leave plenty of room for maintenance vehicles and plows to operate on the roads. Exit ramps and bridges can be very slick, so make sure to pay extra attention on these surfaces. Never use “cruise control” while driving in the winter, since the road might have icy spots even though they appear clear. Stay up to date with current road conditions by calling 511. The most important thing is to BUCKLE UP and to SLOW DOWN.

In Case You Are Stranded

When calling authorities for help, make sure to describe the location, your condition, and the troubles you are having. Listen for instructions and stay in your vehicle. Leaving it during a storm can be very dangerous since you can lose your way or collapse. If the weather conditions are very bad or if you are injured, conserve energy by avoiding overexertion. Don’t run the engine unless you are sure that the exhaust pipe is clear of snow, since a blocked pipe can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Open your window a little bit to keep fresh air flowing, even if it is cold. If you are traveling with several people, you should huddle close to one another to conserve heat. Make yourself visible to rescuers by tying a bright piece of cloth or plastic on your antenna.

Our Black Hills campground is nestled at the foot of Harney Peak in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. Our family resort caters to vacations built on family fun with outdoor activities and exciting amenities for travelers of all ages. Our Black Hills lodging options feature a 62-bedroom lodge, 6 resort cabins with first-class amenities, 30 mountain cabins ranging from rustic to deluxe, and a Mt. Rushmore KOA campground with hundreds of western South Dakota camping sites. Our KOA campground features a wide array of options for campers, from shaded tent sites and camping cabins to deluxe RV sites. Contact us today at 800-562-8503 to reserve your stay!   


Last Modified: 06/25/2014 12:22:02 pm MDT