CHARLOTTE – AAA encourages motorists to be prepared for winter storms as severe weather can be both frightening and dangerous for commuters. It is also a factor in over 2,000 deaths annually.
“With the threat of snow and wintery mixes, we want to remind everyone to practice safety and be diligent behind the wheel,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “Rain, snow and sleet can reduce your visibility, making it difficult to safely maneuver or even bring your vehicle to a complete stop if necessary.”
A winter weather advisory for snow means that periods of snow will cause travel difficulties. It’s important to be prepared for snow-covered roads and limited visibility as well as to use caution while driving. Also, make sure your car is winterized.
When faced with snowy or icy conditions, AAA recommends the following driving tips:
• Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it is better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
• Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed to account for less traction when driving on snow or ice.
• Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to retain traction and avoid skids. Don’t take off in a hurry and take time to slow down for stoplights. It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
• Increase your following distance. Allow five to six seconds of following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This extra space will allow you time to stop safely if the other driver suddenly brakes.
• 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 smoothly apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. Do not pump the brakes!
• Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of energy 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.
• Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads may cause your wheels to spin. Try to get a little momentum before you reach the hill and let that carry you to the top.
• Don’t stop while going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to move up a hill on an icy road. Get some momentum going on a flat roadway before making your way up the hill.