AAA: Snow, ice threatens Virginia roadways

aaaAAA is warning motorists to prepare now and heed the advice of local officials as snow and ice is now imminent for the Richmond and surrounding areas.

“AAA urges motorists to use extreme caution when traveling during winter weather, pay attention to any travel warnings and, obviously, keep an eye on the weather,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA. “The best advice is to prepare in advance and avoid driving at all.  If you have to go out, drive with caution and give road crews plenty of room to do their job safely.”

AAA advises drivers to heed the following tips:

  • Increase following distance – Increase your following distance to at least 10 seconds to allow yourself time in the event you or the car in front of you loses control. The stopping distance required on ice at zero degrees Fahrenheit is twice the amount required at thirty-two degrees.
  • Use extra caution on bridges and overpasses – Bridges and overpasses freeze first and melt last. Therefore, use extra caution as the roadway leading up to the bridge may appear fine but the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
  • Accelerate slowly – Traction is the greatest just before the wheel starts to spin, therefore accelerating slowly will increase your grip on the road.
  • Ease off the gas pedal – If your tires begin to slip or you begin to skid, ease off the gas pedal until you regain control of the vehicle.
  • Brake slowly and gently – Slamming on the brakes on ice covered roads dramatically increases your risk of losing control of your vehicle.
  • Control the skid – In the event you find your car is skidding, ease off of the accelerator or brake, and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
  • Never use cruise control – Cruise control is not recommended when ice is on the road, 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.

AAA further reminds drivers to check their Emergency Roadside Kit to make sure it is replenished. “Being prepared for the unexpected is in the best interest of everyone on the roadways, “advised Arnette.  “In addition to adding winter items to your emergency roadside kit, don’t forget to add reflectors or flares to ensure other drivers can see you in the event of a roadside emergency.”

AAA recommends the following be included in every car’s emergency roadside kit.

  • Blanket
  • Ice scraper
  • Flares or reflective triangles
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Bag of abrasive material such as cat litter
  • Shovel
  • Cloth or paper towels
  • Cell phone with a full charge
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