Snow, wind and cold weather make driving conditions more difficult, especially during the first big storm of the season as well as for teen drivers. AAA advises motorists to prepare themselves and their vehicles. Motorists are advised to allow extra travel time, to monitor weather conditions and to follow advice from authorities.
AAA recommends keeping emergency supplies in the vehicle, including a cell phone, ice scraper/brush, boots, gloves, blanket, flashlight, traction material, shovel, jumper cables, reflective triangle and a first aid kit.
AAA also recommends if motorists become stranded, it is best to stay with the vehicle. If the engine will start, run it only long enough to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is snow-free.
When taking to the road during winter weather, remember to drive with caution and eliminate distractions to help maintain safety. AAA recommends the following tips for winter driving:
• Before starting out, remove snow from the entire car so it doesn’t blow onto the windshield or the windshields of other drivers. Make sure mirrors and lights are clean.
• Drive with low-beam headlights on.
• Slow down when visibility and road conditions are impaired, and increase the following distance between vehicles.
• Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections.
• Look farther ahead in traffic. Actions by other drivers will indicate problems and will allow extra seconds to react.
• When changing lanes, avoid cutting in front of trucks, which need more time and distance than passenger vehicles to stop.
• Don’t use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.
• Remember that four-wheel drive helps a vehicle get going quicker, but it won’t help a vehicle stop any faster.
• Apply constant, firm pressure to the pedal with anti-lock brakes.
• Preparing for frigid weather conditions will help keep a vehicle on the road, advises AAA.
• Check battery strength. Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At 0 degrees, a good battery has 35 percent less starting power.
• Park the car in the garage. If there is no garage, put a tarp over the hood or park protected from prevailing winds. To keep doors from freezing shut, place a plastic trash bag between the door and the frame.
• Keep the fuel tank at least half-full to avoid fuel-line freeze-up.