AAA warns drivers to be alert for dangerous conditions on the roads
Over the past few days, many parts of Virginia were looking at temperatures in the 60s and 70s, but this morning we’re waking up to snow.
Bridges and overpasses could be the first place drivers start to see snow and ice accumulating on the roads.
“Drivers should not underestimate this storm because of the recent warm weather” says AAA Mid-Atlantic Spokesperson Morgan Dean. “With the rain turning to frozen precipitation, road conditions can change very quickly. A wet patch of pavement one minute can become ice or snow covered the next.”
Winter driving tips
- Thoroughly clean off your entire car
- Accelerate and brake slowly – it takes longer to slow down on snowy, icy roads.
- Drive SLOWLY and GENTLY looking farther down the road for potential problems
- Do not use cruise control and avoid tailgating– normal following distances of three to four seconds for dry pavement should be increased to eight to 10 seconds when driving on icy, slippery surfaces.
- Regardless of whether the vehicle has front-, rear- or four-wheel drive, the best way to regain control if the front wheels skid is:
- Continue to look where you want to go.
- Steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
- Avoid slamming on the brakes. Although hitting the brakes is a typical response, slamming the brakes will only further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to regain control.
- Wait for the front wheels to grip the road again. As soon as traction returns, the vehicle will start to steer again.
- When the front wheels have regained their grip, steer the wheels gently in the desired direction of travel.
- Wait for the roads to be plowed and treated before venturing out – road surface condition is the single most important safety factor during a winter weather event.
- Steer clear of snow plows and salt trucks – stay at least six car lengths behind these vehicles
- Drive in cleared lanes if possible. If lanes haven’t been cleared, try and drive in the tire tracks of other cars. 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
Assemble an emergency kit and keep it in your vehicle
Emergency kit items to include – deicer, shovel, ice scraper, sand or kitty litter (for traction)
- Pack a blanket, extra gloves and hat, heavy coat – if you’re stuck on the road for an extended period of time you’ll need to stay warm, especially if your vehicle is not running
- Pack snacks, beverages, etc. – have them packed by the door to take in the morning (so they don’t freeze in the car overnight)
- Charge your cell phone –have a backup power source for the car in case you’re stuck for a while
- Make sure your windshield wipers and lights (headlights, taillights, turn signals) are working properly – make sure you can see and can be seen
- Keep a full tank of gas