As we prepare for the possibility of more snow in the region, I think it's important to remind drivers of some winter driving safety tips. Of course, it's best to try and avoid driving in snowy or icy conditions, but if you have to, take the following steps to reduce your chances of getting in an accident.
1. Drive according to the conditions outside. This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but many people assume that four-wheel drive and front-wheel drive compensate for dangerous road conditions. Don't make this mistake.
2. Turn on your headlights so that other drivers can see you.
3. Make sure your lights and your windshield are clean.
4. Reduce your speed and leave plenty of room to stop. There should be at least three times the normal amount of space between you and the car in front of you.
5. Break gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
6. Use low gears to maintain traction, especially on all of the hills in our region.
7. Bridges can be dangerous, and with hundreds of them in southwestern Pennsylvania, we have to be especially careful. Like overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, they freeze first.
8. Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers of these vehicles have limited visibility.
Try and make sure that you don't go out until the snow plows and salt trucks have had a chance to clear the roads, and allow yourself extra time to get to your destination. You can also practice winter driving in a snowy, open parking lot to get comfortable with your car.
For more safety information, you can check out one of my previous blog posts on how to winterize your car before you take it out in hazardous conditions.