Tips for Driving in Des Moines

2021 white Volkswagen Jetta driving through the country side

Whether you’ve been living in Des Moines your entire life or you’ve recently moved here, you will want to be cautious about driving safely here, especially during different seasons or conditions. As your Des Moines guide, Volkswagen of Des Moines has compiled a guide of tips for driving in the area from winter driving tips to night driving tips. Learn more below. 

Winter Driving Tips 

Before you head out to a winter activity near Des Moines, you should get familiar with the following snow driving tips, as well as tips for driving on icy roads: 

  • Adjust your speed if the roads are slick. Because of this, you’ll need to accelerate and decelerate slowly. This helps you avoid skidding, particularly on icy surfaces.
  • Increase following distance. You’ll brake slower in the winter, so we recommend increasing your following distance to five or six seconds to give yourself more room to stop. 
  • Use brakes strategically. If you need to stop in an instant, you can engage your car’s anti-lock brake system (ABS). Push the pedal down as hard as you can and keep the pressure on as you steer. The ABS will take over and adjust traction automatically. You might notice some vibrations in the pedal, but it’s perfectly normal.
  • Schedule your service and complete any checks. Put yourself in the best possible position for driving in the snow by getting a maintenance visit. Technicians can make sure that your brakes, battery, and other components are working properly as you get into the worst of Urbandale’s winter weather.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half-full. Running out of gas in frigid weather can be dangerous, and near-empty gas tanks can be susceptible to freezing.

Fall Driving Tips

Fall weather can be breathtaking, but the shift of weather means you need to account for changes in your drives near West Des Moines. Here are some fall driving tips to keep in mind:

  • Have a pair of sunglasses with you when you’re driving because of sun glare. The sun sits lower in the sky, which means that when there is no cloud cover, you will find it quite blinding when driving. 
  • While you might want to suddenly hit the brakes and drive over wet leaves, you shouldn’t as it can cause you to lose control on the road. Your car can start spinning all over the road. Leaves can also be hiding potholes or other debris that can damage your car.
  • Keep your eyes out for any deer on your route. It’s mating season for deer until the end of December, so they are most likely to be seen on the sides of the road foraging.

Night Driving Tips 

Whether you’re going on a date night or you’re in the mood for a late-night drive, these are the most important night driving tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep all vehicle lights clean and free of debris so that the headlights and tail lights on the vehicle are able to illuminate the road properly. This will bring light to any hazards that may be present.
  • Stay on well-lit roads if possible. You will be able to see your surroundings better. 
  • Practice defensive driving techniques. 

Learn More from Volkswagen of Des Moines 

Practice safe driving with these tips from Volkswagen of Des Moines and if you’d like to learn more or have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help a local driver out!


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