Driving Safely in Winter Weather
With the prediction of six more weeks of winter from Punxsutawney Phil coming true, much of the country is now blanketed with a major winter storm that can cause severe car accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly one-in-five of all vehicle crashes occur during winter conditions.
Here are some tips from AAA for Driving in Freezing Rain, Ice and Snow.
Driving on ice and in winter conditions can be very challenging. The key to safe driving is to adapt your driving behaviors to these conditions.
- Stay home. Only go out if necessary. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
- Reduce speed and anticipate delays. Most snow and ice related crashes are caused by vehicles sliding off the road because they are traveling at speeds too great for the road and weather conditions. Posted speed limits are set for driving under optimal, dry conditions. If road and weather conditions are adverse, motorists should operate at a speed well below the posted limit.
- Leave extra space between vehicles. Increase your following distance to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
- Avoid unnecessary lane changes. Changing lanes increases your chances of hitting ice between lanes, which could cause a loss of traction and, potentially, a crash.
- Intersections can be especially slippery as ice thaws from the heat of idling vehicles. Water on top of ice is a very dangerous situation.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
- Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
- Black ice: Transparent ice may form on the roadway. If you notice ice forming on any object, assume that it is forming on the road surface as well. Bridges are usually the first surfaces to freeze. Drive slowly and, if possible, avoid driving on icy surfaces.
- Buckle up: Ensuring that everyone in your vehicle is properly restrained is the single most effective thing motorists can do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe on the roads.
For more information on Winter Driving Tips from AAA: https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/winter-driving-tips/#.YCw8uhNKhTY
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