Advise on Winter Driving in Alaska

    Alaska winters are known to make driving a hazardous task. With a lack of traction, and low visibility anyone can end up in a unsavory situation. A great way to improve the everyday drive is to learn from the experience of others. I asked a few residents of Alaska what their best advice for driving during winter would be, and here is their best advice.

I asked a Oregon college student Ryan Cain, who has lived in Alaska for 19 years, what is the best advice he could give. He said, “For two wheel drive cars put sandbags in the back, studded tires are much better than all season tires.” The most important phrase he said that should be remembered by everyone in snowy conditions is “Everything that you do, do it slow.”

Grant George, a student and track athlete at UAA, said “Apply brakes early, if your trying to stop on ice, look for snow patches, and do not make sharp turns.” A few simple thoughts, but essential to helping one stay safe.

I interviewed David Ward, a 19 year old resident, who is going to college in Minnesota. He said, “If you spin out, turn your wheels to where you want to go, and don’t touch the gas or breaks. Give some room in front of you at a stop incase someone behind you cannot stop, then you can pull forward. Always make sure to wipe off your car, and scrape the windshield. When you leave your house, speed up and the hit your breaks on your road to test the slickness.”

    Lander Simmers another student at UAA had a wealth of information to give. He said “Slow down about a double length before you get to a stop or turn. You also never need to be in a hurry, and leave plenty of space in front of you at all times. Another key point is to make sure your vehicle is road ready, studded tires are a plus, also make sure to have bright headlights for the dark.” Keeping some space, and going slow can help anyone from being in accident.

All of this helpful information can make winter driving safer for everyone. For more additional information on driving safely in the winter anyone can go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, or go to their website and download a driver manual. The manual is full of information such as recovering from a skid to simple procedures that might be overlooked by the average driver. Every bit of information is helpful to making driving a better experience.


Ryan Cain:
Grant George:
David Ward:
Lander Simmers:
Alaska DMV Drivers Manual:


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