The winter weather is slowing down drivers. But if you follow a few simple steps, you can ensure your trip doesn't come to a halt when temperature drop.

1. Use a Lock De-Icer: If you return to your car and the locks are frozen, de-icer will help you get your doors unlocked and opened. If you don't carry de-icer, you can make it simply by heating your car key with a cigarette lighter. Once the key is hot enough, stick it in your lock, and the heat will thaw the lock from the inside. You may have to warm the key more than once.

2. Warm up Your Car: Newer cars only need approximately 30 seconds of running time after a cold start, but AAA recommends warming your car for at least 5-10 minutes. It is important to warm your oil and engine.

3. Fill up Your Tank: During the winter months, keep at least a half of tank of gas in your car at all times to prevent the gas line from freezing.

4. Avoid Using the Parking Brake: If possible, always park in a level parking space. Your parking brake can get stuck in the locked position in below-freezing temperatures. 

5. Don't Cruise: Cruise control is a convenient feature when traveling long distances, but it is not recommended for use during winter weather. If you start to slide, your car will be very hard to control.

6. Download Apps: Download weather and driving apps. The 511 PA app is a great resource that provides real time conditions and traffic advisories for every PennDot roadway. It also gives conditions for major highways in West Virginia and New Jersey.

Always check the weather before you get on the road. Although skies appear clear, a storm can quickly roll in.

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