AAA is urging drivers to be prepared and cautious while driving in the snow by getting their vehicle checked, filling up the gas tank and packing a vehicle emergency kit.
AAA offers the following tips for driving in snow and ice:
- Remove all snow from vehicle, including roof, hood and trunk: While driving, snow can blow off a car onto the windshield of a nearby vehicle, temporary blinding that driver’s vision.
- Slow down: Accelerate, turn and brake gradually. Adjust your speed to the road conditions and leave yourself ample room to stop. Allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
- Don't tailgate: Normal following distances of three to four seconds on dry pavement should be a minimum of five to six seconds when driving on slippery surfaces. The extra time will provide additional braking room should a sudden stop becomes necessary.
- Never use cruise control on slippery roads: You lose the ability to transfer more weight to the front tire by simply lifting off the accelerator. A driver should always be in full control of their vehicle during poor road conditions.
- Avoid unnecessary lane changes: This increases the chances of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that could cause loss of vehicle traction.
- Minimize the need to brake on ice: If you're approaching a stop sign, traffic light or other area where ice often forms, brake early on clear pavement to reduce speed. Vehicle control is much more difficult when braking on ice-covered roadways.
AAA offers the following tips for a winter emergency kit:
- The kit should include a deicer, shovel, ice scraper, sand or kitty litter (for traction).
- Pack a blanket, extra gloves and hat, and a heavy coat. If you're stuck on the road for an extended period of time you'll need to stay warm, especially if you vehicle isn't running.
- Pack snacks, beverages, etc. Have them packed by the door to take in the morning so they don't freeze in the car overnight.
- Charge your cellphone. Have a backup power source for the car in case you're struck for a while.
- Make sure your windshield wipers and lights are working properly. Make sure you can see and can be seen.
- Keep at least a half tank of gas.