Snow, sleet and freezing rain are moving into the area today. Everyone is urged to slow down, take precautions and use common sense. MoDOT/IDOT recommend drivers stay off the roads, if possible, while this weather system moves through the area. If you absolutely travel during this storm, here’s what you need to know…
Here are 5 tips for safe winter-weather driving:
Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Pay attention to ensure wiper blades and front/rear defrosters are working properly. Make sure all fluids are topped off and don’t let the gas tank drop below half empty.
Before you go, stock your vehicle with the following emergency supplies: jumper cables, ice scraper, flash light, fuel line de-icer, first-aid kit, blankets, water, and a few snacks. Having a bag of sand or cat litter is also a good idea – as it can poured around tires to gain traction if you get stuck.
Keep an eye out for black ice – which gets its name because it blends in with the pavement. Black ice is difficult to spot. Be on the lookout for areas of an otherwise dry roadway that appear dark and glossy.
Watch the outside temperature, since black ice forms when the temperature is 32 degrees or colder. The most common areas where black ice forms are shaded or tree-lined roadways and bridges/overpasses.
If you find your car sliding on ice, stay calm. Do not make any sudden corrections or slam the brakes. Instead, lift your foot off the accelerator and hold the steering wheel straight. Most patches of black ice are not that large, so if you hold the car in position on the road – chances are you’ll slid over the ice quickly. If you feel the car skidding, turn the wheel in the direction of the skid and only apply the gas once you’ve felt the car gain traction.
If your car gets stuck, don’t floor the accelerator to try and ‘power out’ of the ice or snow. Instead, place sand, cat litter, a piece of cardboard or your car’s floor mat under the tires and gently pull out of the slippery area.
In all winter driving circumstances, proceed with caution, go slowly and you will arrive at your destination safely. A meteorologist in Charlotte, North Carolina offered one of the best tips for driving in snow, sleet or freezing rain:
We couldn’t agree more. Stay safe on the roads this winter!
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