Tips to drive safe in winter weather

January 21, 2011 Feature Print Print
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Snow is once again forecast for Oklahoma. AAA Oklahoma advises motorists to be prepared.

“Even a dusting of snow can cause slippery conditions that can result in a driving nightmare,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Now’s the time to prepare your vehicle and at the same time, prepare your mind to be ready to drive at speeds that match prevailing visibility, traffic and road conditions.”

Winter Driving Do’s

• Prepare your vehicle for cold weather. Check battery, ignition system, lights, brakes, tires, the exhaust system and windshield wipers.

• Slow down. When the roads are icy, allow extra time to reach your destination. Rushing creates risk.

Pack an Emergency Road Kit:

• Blankets

• Flashlight with extra batteries

• First aid kit

• Drinking water, food, snacks

• Small shovel

• Sand or clay-based kitty litter for traction

• Ice scraper/brush

• Battery booster cables

• Emergency flares/reflectors

• Towels

• Extra clothes, gloves, etc.

• Cell phone with charger

• Use major routes. After it snows, major roads are cleared and treated first. Avoid secondary roads.

• Dress as if you were going to be stranded. It can get very cold in a car on the side of the road waiting for help. Be sure to have extra blankets and insist that children who may be traveling with you have some, too.

• Use low gear to get out of tough spots. You need steady pulling and moderate power when traction is poor.

Winter Driving Don’ts

• Avoid slamming on brakes. Minimize brake use on very slippery, icy roads and hills; if further speed reduction is needed use a gentle and slow brake application.

• Avoid changing lanes. On a four-lane highway, stay in the lane that has been cleared most recently. Changing lanes over built-up snow between lanes may cause you to lose control of the vehicle.

• Never use cruise control. When driving on any slippery, wet, or icy surface, cruise control prevents you from having total control over your vehicle.

• With ABS brakes, don’t pump the brake pedal. Apply steady, firm pressure.

• Do not drive in four-wheel-drive. It will get you going faster and easier but it does not provide an advantage in stopping.

• Do not panic. If your vehicle skids out of control, steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.

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