Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Driving in winter weather? Follow these tips

Hitting the road for Thanksgiving, Christmas ‑- or any other time between now and spring? Be careful out there: Weather and road conditions, coupled with being in an unfamiliar area, can combine to make  for a dangerous situation.

Hertz and AAA offer these safe-driving tips for winter drivers.

Watch weather reports for your route and destination in advance.  Delay a trip when especially bad weather is expected.

Plan your route in advance, especially when bad weather is expected.

If you're renting a vehicle, get one with a GPS system. And if you'll be driving in an area where snow can be a problem, think about getting a vehicle with extra weight, like an SUV of minivan. Renting a car with four-wheel drive could also prove advantageous on  snowy and icy roads.

Check your windshield wipers before going anywhere. Make sure they function properly and that the wipers and windshield are clean. And make sure you have an ice scraper.

Allow for time when you're on snow or ice. Drive slowly, to maintain vehicle control when accelerating, stopping or turning. Also when driving under these conditions,
maintain your speed when ascending a hill; don't accelerate -- that can be hazardous.

Do not use cruise control. You can instead instantly and easily decrease speed just by  taking your foot off the accelerator.  This, in turn, transfers weight to the front tires, giving them more traction.

Also, braking on slippery surfaces requires you to look further ahead, so plan as early as possible and always look 20 to 30 seconds ahead of your vehicle to make sure you have time and space to stop safely.

Along those lines: The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to 10 seconds.

Have warm jackets, gloves and hats inside your car. Just in case.

If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. The car provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you.

Don't try to walk in a severe storm, like the stranded traveler in the photo at the top of this post.. It was taken in Amarillo, Texas, during a February 2013 blizzard. (AP Photo/The Amarillo Globe News)


Noel said...

I have certainly learned the hard way to check my windshield wipes before I get on the road.