Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tips for driving in the snow and ice

WUSA 9 Staff, WUSA2:30 p.m. EST January 20, 2014
AAA has some advice for drivers who have to travel in the snow and ice.

  • Remove snow from entire car. This avoids snow blowing on your windshield or the  windshields of other vehicles.
  • Drive with your low-beam headlights on. 
  • When the roads are icy, slow down and take extra time to reach your destination.
  • Stay at least 15 car lengths (200 feet) back from maintenance vehicles and plows to allow them sufficient room and, if you need to pass, go to the other vehicle's left.
  • Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections, even when the rest of the road seems to be fine.
  • If you are stuck in snow, straighten your wheels and accelerate slowly. Add sand or salt under the drive wheels to help avoid spinning the tires.
  • Stay in control through a skid and don't panic.  Continue to look and steer in the direction the car needs to go. Avoid slamming on the brakes as this will further upset the vehicle's balance and make it harder to control.
  • Look farther ahead in traffic. Noting the actions of other drivers will alert you to problems ahead and allow you to prepare.
  • When changing lanes, avoid cutting in front of trucks, which need more time and distance than passenger vehicles to stop.
  • Do not use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.
  • Remember that four-wheel drive helps you to pick up speed quicker, but not stop any faster.
  • Apply constant, firm pressure to the brake pedal with anti-lock brakes.
  • Know when to brake and when to steer. Some driving situations require abrupt action to avoid a crash or collision in winter conditions.  When driving over 25 MPH, AAA recommends steering instead of braking to avoid a collision in wintry conditions.  It takes less distance to steer around an object than to brake to a stop. In slick conditions, sudden braking can lead to loss of vehicle control.
  • Keep a winter weather kit in their car that includes a blanket, ice scraper, flares/reflective triangles, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, bag of abrasive material such as cat litter, shovel, cloth/paper towels, and a fully charged cell phone. Check tires, wiper blades and car batteries before hitting the road.

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