Tips for driving in the snow, from AAA:
Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids.
Drive slowly. Every maneuver takes longer on snow-covered roads. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Increase your following distance by at least 6 seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop. Do not tailgate. (Photo: iStock)
Avoid braking on icy roads. Try to brake well ahead of stop signs and traffic lights, preferably in areas of clear pavement. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold braking. 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. (Photo: iStock)
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, without getting close to vehicles ahead of you, do it. (Photo: Bloomberg)
Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top rather than hard acceleration. Do not stop on your way up the hill. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible. (Photo: AP)
Never use cruise control on slippery roads. Cruise control will cause you to 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. (Photo: iStock)
Avoid unnecessary lane changes. This increases the chances of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that could cause loss of vehicle traction. (Photo: AP)
Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the winter weather from indoors. (Photo: iStock)
The Northeast was hit with its first snowfall of the season this week, creating a messy commute for residents as some parts of the region accumulated up to 12 inches of snow.
Travel advisories in New York urged residents and commuters to take public transportation whenever possible and avoid driving due to dangerous road conditions.
It doesn’t take a blizzard to create hazardous driving conditions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), winter weather conditions are responsible for 17% of all vehicle crashes annually. And every year, AAA attends to approximately 32 million stranded motorists across the country.
Any amount of snow or ice conditions demand careful driving practices and special preparation steps for your vehicle ahead of inclement winter weather activity. To prepare motorists, AAA assembled a list of winter-weather reminders, detailing several critical safety tips for driving in the snow and other icy conditions, detailed in the slideshow above.
Before the storm
AAA also offers a few winter driving preparedness tips to consider ahead of any inclement weather activity this season:
- Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage, nor leave a running vehicle unattended.
- Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread.
- Have the battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face cold weather.
It is highly advised that motorists prepare a winter emergency kit to stow in the trunk of their vehicle. AAA says emergency kit items should include a de-icer, shovel, ice scraper, warning flare or reflector triangle, flashlight with fresh batteries, first aid kit, jumper cables and sand or kitty litter (for traction). It’s also a good idea to pack a blanket, extra gloves, jacket, scarf, and for safety, a hat so you can be seen if you have to get out of your vehicle.