6 Tips for winter driving – Waynesboro, PA – Waynesboro Record Herald

December is here and snow flurries have been spotted. Who knows when the first measurable snow will cover local roads. After last winter, when back-to-back snowstorms buried the region in February, there’s no telling what will happen this year.

Before hitting the roads this winter, keep the following in mind:

1. Take your time. Drivers should be cautious when driving in the snow by speeding up and slowing down slowly. By driving slower, motorists will be able to avoid skidding. Remember, it takes longer to slow down on snow-covered roads than on dry blacktop. Drivers should wait for road crews to treat roads for snow, whether by plowing or applying salt, before venturing out.

2. Check your vehicle’s brakes and tires and keep the gas tank half full. Tires should be properly inflated. AAA recommends that parking and emergency brakes not be used in freezing temperatures because the brakes could freeze.

3. Don’t stop if you can avoid it. Moving a vehicle from a complete stop on a snow-covered road is much harder inertia than a still-rolling vehicle. Try to just slow down enough for a traffic light change, without completely stopping. On the other side, drivers should be cautious about powering up hills. The extra gas needed to power up hills starts wheels spinning. Drivers should build up a little speed before reaching the hill, then allow this momentum to carry them to the top.

4. If your wheels skid:

Front wheel skid — Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer right away. As the wheels skid, the vehicle will slow and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go, then put the vehicle in drive and accelerate gently.

Rear wheel skid — Take you foot off the gas. If the wheels are skidding left, steer left and vice versa for a right skid. The steering wheel may need to be adjusted several times before the vehicle is under control. Standard brakes should be pumped gently while steady pressure should be applied to anti-lock brakes. They will pulse, but this is normal.

5. Drivers should have a winter survival kit in their vehicles. The kit should include a cell phone with emergency contact numbers, blankets, gloves, hats, non-perishable food, water, medications, shovel, jumper cables, bag of salt or cat litter, flashlight and extra batteries, compass, first aid kit, ice scraper, scissors, string and a tool box. If you do get stuck in the snow, don’t wander away from your vehicle, but wait for help for arrive. Tie a brightly colored bandanna or other piece of cloth to your vehicle so rescue workers can find you. Also leave a window cracked open for fresh air.

6. Stay home. If you can avoid going out in winter weather, than do. Many people are safe winter drivers, but not everyone pays close attention to the road. If you do have to venture out but don’t feel comfortable driving, ask a friend, neighbor or co-worker to drive you. Remember to wear your seat belt. Every time anyone rides in a vehicle, seat belts should be buckled. In the chance of an accident, they could save your life. And never assume your vehicle can handle everything because it is four-wheel drive.

Information from AAA and The Weather Channel.

Copyright 2010 Waynesboro Record Herald. Some rights reserved

via 6 Tips for winter driving – Waynesboro, PA – Waynesboro Record Herald.

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