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Old 01-09-2012, 07:35 PM
Howard Hartman Howard Hartman is offline
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Default Tips for Driving in Winter Weather

Rockville City Police   
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  •  January 9,2012

Tips for Driving in Winter Weather

Did you know that temperatures 20 degrees below 0 Fahrenheit affects road conditions and can cause serious driving problems?

The Rockville City Police Department would like to remind residents that driving in the winter means snow, sleet and ice that can lead to hazardous road conditions.

The following tips can help you make it safely through the winter.

Tips for Winterizing Your Car:
  • Check the ignition, brakes, wiring, hoses and fan belts.
  • Change and adjust the spark plugs.
  • Check the air, fuel and emission filters, and the PCV valve.
  • Inspect the distributor.
  • Check the battery.
  • Check the tires for air, sidewall for wear and the tread for depth.
  • Check the antifreeze levels and the freeze line.
  • Check the windshield washer fluid level.
  • Make sure that your gas level is full.

Tips for Driving in Snow and Ice:
  • The best advice for driving in bad weather is to not drive at all, if you can avoid it.
  • Don’t go out until the snow plows and salt trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.
  • If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared, and that you know how to handle the road conditions.
  • Make sure that you clean all snow and ice off your car, including the windshield, back window, headlights and taillights, and side windows and side mirrors.
  • When driving decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock, do not panic; ease off the brake
  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  • Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  • Do not use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Be extremely careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first.
  • Do not pass snowplows and salt trucks. Those drivers have limited visibility and you are likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind them.
  • Do not assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
  • Do not use a cell phone while driving in hazardous conditions.

What to Do if Your Rear Wheels Start to Skid:
  • Do not panic.
  • Take your foot off the accelerator.
  • Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they are sliding right, steer right.
  • If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
  • If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  • If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse – this is normal.

What to Do if Your Front Wheels Start to Skid:
  • Take your foot off the accelerator and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately.
  • As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in drive or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.

What to Do if You Get Stuck:
  • Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
  • Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
  • Use a “light” touch on the accelerator, to ease your car out.
  • Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
  • Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of wheels, to help get traction.
For more information, go to National Safety Council
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