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How to drive safely during snow, ice or slush

Cars drive on a road engulfed in smog in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. A thick quilt of smog lingered over the Indian capital and its suburbs on Friday, fed by smoke from raging agricultural fires that health experts worry could worsen the citys fight against the coronavirus. Air pollution in parts of New Delhi have climbed to levels around nine times what the World Health Organization considers safe, turning grey winter skies into a putrid yellow and shrouding national monuments. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Cars drive on a road engulfed in smog in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. A thick quilt of smog lingered over the Indian capital and its suburbs on Friday, fed by smoke from raging agricultural fires that health experts worry could worsen the citys fight against the coronavirus. Air pollution in parts of New Delhi have climbed to levels around nine times what the World Health Organization considers safe, turning grey winter skies into a putrid yellow and shrouding national monuments. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Bad weather can make for scary driving conditions, but AAA has released some tips on how you can get to your destination safely.

Don’t continue at the same speed you would be traveling in clear, dry conditions
  • Rain, snow and ice can dramatically reduce your tires’ traction
  • Drivers should slow down to regain the traction that is lost due to the weather
Do not brake and turn at the same time
  • Asking your vehicle to do two things at a time makes it more likely that your tires will lose traction
  • Brake first, then turn, then accelerate.
Don’t follow behind other vehicles as closely as you would when driving in clear, dry conditions
  • Slick roads mean your vehicle cannot slow down as quickly.
  • Increase following distances to a minimum of 5-6 seconds.
  • Always keep open space to at least one side of your vehicle, in case you need make an emergency lane change maneuver.
Don’t be rough with your steering, acceleration and braking
  • If you are not gentle with steering, acceleration and braking, your vehicle’s balance can be negatively affected, increasing the chance of experiencing a skid.
  • Always steer, accelerate and brake smoothly.
Don’t hit the brakes if you start to skid
  • Slamming on the brakes can make the skid even worse
  • If you are approaching a patch of ice, brake during your approach. Applying pressure to your brakes while on the ice will only throw you into a skid.
  • If you do start to skid, ease off of the accelerator or brake and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
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 may only result in spinning your wheels. 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 downhill as slowly as possible.
Don’t stop going up a hill
  • It’s difficult to move up a hill on an icy road. If possible, get your vehicle moving on a flat roadway first before taking on a hill.
Use extra caution on bridges and overpasses
  • Bridges and overpasses freeze first and melt last. Use extra caution as the roadway leading up to the bridge may appear fine but the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
Watch for black ice
  • Although it is mostly invisible, pavement with black ice will be a little darker and duller than the rest of the road surface.
Never use cruise control
  • Cruise control is not recommended when the roads are covered in ice or snow as the driver should be in full control of the vehicle at every second.
Drive in cleared lanes
  • Changing lanes unnecessarily puts you at greater risk of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that may cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
  • Be aware of traffic ahead and slow down even more if you start to see brake lights of fishtailing cars.

About the Author:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a digital content producer in July 2018.