Montana Department of Transportation

Winter Driving

You can help ensure a safer winter driving experience by being prepared, alert and cautious.

Before you leave, visit mdt511.com and check your route. If you're driving and want to check in, pull safely off the road and dial 511. Tune in to local radio stations and watch for variable message signs along the route.

Find more ideas like this in the Montana Disaster & Emergency Survival Guide or in the Winter Driving Tips.

snow tire

Safety Tips

Winter Driving Checklist

  1. Allow extra time to get to your destination.
  2. Clean off your car. Keep windows, mirrors and lights clear of snow and ice.
  3. Turn off cruise control.
  4. Always buckle up.
  5. Slow down in poor visibility conditions.
  6. Maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles.
  7. Expect ice on bridges and in shady spots.
  8. Don't pass snowplows unless it's absolutely necessary.
  9. Prepare your vehicle for winter driving at the start of the season.
  10. Check to be sure all four tires are in good condition.
  11. Don't wait until the last minute to get snow tires mounted.
  12. Keep an emergency travel kit in your car.

Safety Around Snow Plows

Our snowplows are on the road for your safety. When you encounter a snowplow, remember:

Don’t crowd the plow.
Plow drivers have limited visibility so don’t assume your vehicle is in view.
Maintain a safe distance behind the snowplow.
Plows aren't just removing snow. They may also be spreading sand or deicer on the road.
Be patient—never pass through a white out.
The driver will pull over when it is safe to do so to allow vehicles to pass.
Slow down.
Plows are large and move slower than highway speeds. It is difficult to judge distance when approaching the plow so slow down immediately to avoid a collision.

There's more to see! Go to our Plowing, De-icing & Sanding section for more information and videos.

Survival Guide

Winters can be dangerously cold in Montana. Learn how to prepare for the worst!

Get the guide.

Emergency Travel Kit

Winters can be dangerously cold in Montana. Prepare for the worst! Put together an emergency travel kit and keep it in your car.

Create a kit.

Tires & Chains

Don't wait until the last minute to get snow tires mounted.

Snow Tire Options