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Winter Driving Tips

Severe weather can be both frightening and dangerous for automobile travel. Motorists should know the safety rules for dealing with winter road emergencies. AAA reminds motorists to be cautious while driving in adverse weather. For more information on winter driving, the association offers the How to Go on Ice and Snow brochure, available through most AAA offices. Contact your local AAA club for more information.

AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:

– Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.

– Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.

– Make certain your tires are properly inflated.

– Never mix radial tires with other tire types.

– Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.

– If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.

– Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).

– Always look and steer where you want to go.

– Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.

Tips for long-distance winter trips:

– Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.

– Always make sure your vehicle is in peak operating condition by having it inspected by a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility.

– Keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times.

– Pack a cellular telephone with your local AAA’s telephone number, plus blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle.

– If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.

– Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow.

– Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.

– Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.

– Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.

– If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.

Tips for driving in the snow:

– Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

– Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.

– The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

– Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

– 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 just starts your wheels spinning. 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 down hill as slowly as possible.

– Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

– Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

Read more at: http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/roadway-safety/winter-driving-tips/

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10 tips for driving on ice and snow

Whether you are a new driver or an experienced one, poor weather conditions can test your nerves and skills on the road. We have already had a few days of white-knuckle driving this season as winter storms have pounded areas across the state. And there are sure to be more stormy days to come.

Studies show that nearly one-quarter of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement. But there are a few steps you can take to ensure you, and your vehicle, are ready for these adverse road conditions. Following these tips can help you get to your destination and back home safely.

Regular Maintenance Safe winter driving begins before you even get into your vehicle. Following the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule is important, but it carries more weight during the winter season when being stranded is not only inconvenient, but downright unpleasant and even dangerous.

Remove ice and snow from your vehicle

Clear all snow and ice from the entire vehicle – hood, roof, trunk, windows, lights and signals. It’s important to make sure you can see and be seen by other drivers. Inspect your vehicle.

Check your tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts and hoses. Make sure tires are properly inflated and the tread is in good condition. Cold temperatures can lower tire pressure. Check monthly and top off as necessary.

Keep your gas tank at least half full

Following this rule of thumb is good practice every day of the year to avoid the bad experience of running out of gas. But in cold weather months, you may need to change your route or could find yourself caught in a traffic delay, and you do not want to have the needle resting on empty in these scenarios.

With the car prepped for travel, keep these 10 driving tips in mind.

Safety On The Road

Reduce your speed. Adjust to changing conditions and allow extra time to reach your destination.

Keep windows clear. Switching on the air conditioner can remove moisture from inside the vehicle and improve defroster performance.

Give the car ahead of you extra space. Braking on a slippery surface requires more distance, so increase your distance with the car ahead. The recommended following distance on dry roads is three to four seconds. This should be increased to eight to 10 seconds for wet or icy roads.

Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Use lower gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

Make smooth, careful movements. Avoid skids by anticipating lane changes, turns and curves. Steering in icy conditions requires smooth and careful movements. Abrupt movements break traction and can start a skid. If your vehicle starts to skid, steer into the direction of the slide.

Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly when pulling out of the driveway or from a stop sign is the best way to regain traction and avoid slipping or sliding. It also takes longer to slow down on icy roads. So at intersections, allow for long, slow and steady stops to avoid skids.

Know your brakes. Locked wheels can make your vehicle slide or skid. If your vehicle has antilock brakes, which newer model cars have, push the brake pedal firmly and hold it down. The pedal will vibrate and pulse against your foot, but this is normal. Do not pump the pedal or remove your foot. The system is working as it was designed to work. If you do not have antilock brakes, still apply firm, steady pressure.

Do not use cruise control. When driving on a slippery surface, such as rain or ice, never use cruise control. You want to be able to respond immediately, if you start losing traction.

Use extra caution on bridges, ramps and overpasses. These areas are likely to freeze first and stay frozen during a winter storm.

Stay focused, alert, and aware. Be aware of what’s going on around you. Actions by other vehicles may alert you to problems more quickly or give you time to react safely.

Handling an Emergency

While preventative measures go a long way to keep you safe on the road, unexpected weather or vehicle problems still arise. If an emergency should develop on the road, an emergency roadside kit with winter supplies is a valuable asset. Kit contents can include a cell phone and car charger; blankets; flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; a small shovel; a sack of sand, cat litter or traction mats; windshield scraper and brush; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors.

Driving on ice and snow can be challenging, but it is possible to be a safe and prepared driver despite winter’s less than optimal driving conditions. The key is to be aware and adapt to the conditions. And if it is really bad outside, and you do not have to go out, stay in. Enjoy the snow from indoors.

Read more at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=151&sid=23732091#YHLwlGUsbtYywTb3.99