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Roadscapes Wednesday: Tips For Driving On Ice And Snow


Most of the country is experiencing the coldest weather in over 20 years!  In Alabama, lows have been in the single digits and highs have only been in the teens and 20’s!  So it’s way too cold to go out and take road photos and videos!  So for this Roadscapes post, I am going to share some tips so you will not spin out and wreck while you are driving on ice and snow.  Here is a video from Minnesota where a car actually flew off a bridge on an icy road this week, this has to be scary!

First off, you must plan a lot of time to get to your destination.  Too many people just fly down the road while there is ice and snow on the pavement.  What do you think is going to happen next if you speed down an icy and snowy road?  Yep, you are eventually going to wreck!  Too many people, especially on freeways and highways, just ignore the dangers of going too fast on icy and snowy pavement.  And thanks to drivers who ignore warnings about wrecking, we can enjoy great wreck videos on YouTube!

People driving too fast on icy and snowy roads causes numerous injuries and deaths each year.  So when you have snow and ice in your area, do one simple thing, SLOW DOWN!  In some states, an average yearly death count from icy and snowy roads is actually greater than the average tornado deaths each year.  Dan Robinson, who is a storm chaser and photojournalist, created the website called Icy Road Safety.  It is full of great information to keep you safe when ice and snow is in the area, to view the website, go to:

Now for some great tips to keep you safe while driving in winter weather.  There are some simple steps you can follow to keep you safe if you must drive while ice and snow is on the roads.  Remember this phrase, ice and snow, take it slow!

1.  Keep your vehicle on a regular maintenance plan.  Make sure your tires have the right air pressure, your antifreeze is topped off, your motor oil is fresh and current, and all of your features are working properly.  You never know if you spin-off the road, your car’s heater can save you.  And never start up and heat your vehicle in a closed garage, that is a carbon monoxide no no!

2. Remove all snow and ice from your car before leaving.  Make sure your lights, turn signals, wiper blades, windows, mirrors, and other important features are free of snow and ice.  Your car must be seen by other drivers while on the road.  And having a lot of snow and ice can limit your visibility while on the road.  If there is heavy snow or ice falling, your best bet is to stay home!

3. Keep your gas tank at least half full just in case you need your car in an emergency situation.  Also, all cars should have an emergency kit in the back that includes a blanket, food and water, kitty litter for traction, road flares, car charger, cell phone, shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, extra coat, windshield scraper and brush, battery cables, and a first-aid kit.

4. If you must drive when ice and snow is on the roads. drive slowly!  Remember, bridges and overpasses will ice first.  So drive slowly across those.  Never use your cruise control and accelerate and decelerate slowly.  Make smooth and careful movements while turning.  And brake gently so you will not spin out.  The most important rule, stay alert, keep extra space from the vehicle in front of you, and drive slowly!

5.  Watch your local weather reports before going out.  If you must go out, wear your seat belt and take your time.  If you become stranded, stay in your vehicle to stay warm!  If you do become stranded, the most important tip is to keep your exhaust pipe free from snow and ice.  If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.  Your best choice is to just stay home!

If you have never driven in ice and snow, here is some great advice!  Go to an empty parking lot covered in ice and snow, and practice!  Try driving, turning, and braking on snow and ice.  This is the best experience you can get and after some practice, you will be ready for the real thing while you are driving on the road.  Stay safe this winter everyone!


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