AAA is reminding drivers, as a winter storm is expected to move in this weekend, that snow means slow, and that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a lot of snow. Sometimes just an inch or two can lead to serious crashes if motorists do not adjust their driving behaviors for conditions.
“With a mild winters the last few years it is critical that drivers be reminded that they need to adjust to the conditions,” says Kara Hitchens, spokesperson for AAA Club Alliance. “While some vehicles are better equipped for snowy roadways, no vehicle or set of tires can prevent skidding on slick roadways.”
AAA Tips for Winter Weather:
- Drive for the road conditions – While there is not a lot of snow predicted for Ohio, wet road conditions are responsible for majority of crashes with rain leading adverse the weather condition. Drivers should be aware of elevated surfaces such as overpasses and bridges as they tend to freeze first.
- Stay home –If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in winter conditions, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate. Stay home until crews can properly clear roadways.
- Keep an eye on your tires – Rain, snow and ice can dramatically reduce your tires’ traction. Drivers should slow down to regain the traction that is lost due to the weather. Also, make sure you tires are properly inflated. Tires need the proper inflation to maintain traction. For every 10-degree drop in temperature, tires can lose 1 pound of air pressure.
- Know your brakes –Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Don’t brake and turn at the same time –Asking your vehicle to do two things at a time makes it more likely that your tires will lose traction. Brake first, then turn, then accelerate.
- Don’t follow behind other vehicles as closely as you would when driving in clear, dry conditions –Slick roads means your vehicle cannot slow down as quickly. Increase following distances to 8 seconds or more and always keep open space to at least one side of your vehicle, in case you need make an emergency lane change maneuver.
- Don’t be rough with your steering, acceleration and braking – If you are not gentle with steering, acceleration and braking, your vehicle’s balance can be negatively affected, increasing the chance of experiencing a skid. Always steer, accelerate and brake smoothly.
- Don’t hit the brakes if you start to skid – Slamming on the brakes can make the skid even worse. If you are approaching a patch of ice, brake during your approach. Applying pressure to your brakes while on the ice will only throw you into a skid. If you do start to skid, ease off of the accelerator or brake and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it –There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it. Be aware of traffic ahead and slow down even more if you start to see brake lights or fish tailing cars.
- Make sure your battery can handle the weather -Have your battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face cold weather. When the air temperature is 32 degrees, a battery’s starting power drops 35 percent.
Prepare Winter Emergency Kit
AAA Recommended Winter Emergency Kit:
- Abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
- Snow shovel
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Window washer solvent
- Ice scraper with brush
- Jumper cables
- Extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves), and blankets
- Warning devices (flares or triangles)
- Drinking water and non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
- First-aid kit
- Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
- Mobile phone pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services and charger.