Tips for travel safety during winter weather

Friday, January 12, 2018

By the time you read this Friday morning, there's a very good chance the roads will be ice-covered, as freezing precipitation was expected late Thursday night and into Friday morning.

So we expect that a lot of schools and businesses will be closing for the day. Travel could be hazardous.

But if you do have to get out, please use extreme caution.

Here are some tips for driving in wintry conditions from AAA:

* Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don't try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

* Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning -- nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement.

* The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to 10 seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

* Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. 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 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.

* 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. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.

* 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.

* Stay home. If you really don't have to go out, don't.

Aside from the travel problems, we hope you can find ways to enjoy the winter weather. Be safe, everyone!

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