BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) -As West Virginia’s weather forecast calls for rain and snow tonight and into the Tuesday morning commute, AAA advises motorists to be prepared and adhere to winter weather driving safety tips.
“AAA urges motorists to use extreme caution when traveling during winter weather, pay attention to any travel warnings and, obviously, keep an eye on the weather,” said Autumn Bess, District Office Supervisor for AAA Beckley. “The best advice is to prepare in advance and avoid driving at all. If you have to go out, drive with caution and give road crews plenty of room to do their job safely.”
AAA advises drivers to heed the following tips:
- Increase following distance – Increase your following distance to at least 10 seconds to allow yourself time in the event you or the car in front of you loses control. The stopping distance required on ice at zero degrees Fahrenheit is twice the amount required at thirty-two degrees.
- Use extra caution on bridges and overpasses – Bridges and overpasses freeze first and melt last. Therefore, use extra caution as the roadway leading up to the bridge may appear fine but the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
- Accelerate slowly – Traction is the greatest just before the wheel starts to spin, therefore accelerating slowly will increase your grip on the road.
- Ease off the gas pedal – If your tires begin to slip or you begin to skid, ease off the gas pedal until you regain control of the vehicle.
- Brake slowly and gently – Slamming on the brakes on ice covered roads dramatically increases your risk of losing control of your vehicle.
- Control the skid – In the event you find your car is skidding, ease off of the accelerator or brake, and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
- Never use cruise control – Cruise control is not recommended when ice is on the road, as the driver should be in full control of the vehicle at every second.
- Drive in cleared lanes – 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.
- Brush up on your driving skills with this AAA YouTube video: How to Drive in the Snow
According to Bess, now is also the time to assemble an emergency kit equipped for winter weather to carry in your vehicle. This kit is especially important if you’ll be driving any distance and winter weather is forecast. The kit should include:
- Mobile phone pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services, and car charger
- Drinking water
- First-aid kit
- Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
- Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
- Snow shovel
- Extra warm clothing (coat, gloves, hats, scarves)
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Window washer solvent
- Ice scraper with brush
- Cloth or roll of paper towels
- Jumper cables
- Warning devices (flares or triangles)
- Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
Many of the winter emergency items listed above – plus pre-assembled multi-item kits including the 66-piece Winter Safety Road Kit – are available, at a discount to AAA members, in the online store at AAA.com.