It's that time of year again: snow, sleet and ice. Driving in the winter month's means traveling road conditions, which could lead to unforeseen dangers.
Preparing for winter driving:
- Before taking any vehicle on the road in the winter, have it tuned up.
- Test brakes, battery, check fluid levels, add anti-freeze accordingly.
- Have emergency equipment i.e. Sand/kitty litter, shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, blankets, flashlight with working batteries.
- Cell phone for emergencies.
- Keep your fuel tank as full as possible. Condensation will be at a minimum and the added weight will help maximize traction and handling on slick roads.
" Any small problems you had with your car in good weather will be bigger problems in bad weather."
Safe winter driving tips:
- Warming car up; never warm vehicle up inside of garages or other closed areas, pull the vehicle out of garage and shut garage door to reduce carbon monoxide build up. Have extra set of keys and lock vehicle up, to reduce theft and accidents.
- Frost; Make sure to scrape all frost from windows prior to driving, it is very important that all windows be free of frost before the vehicle is driven.
- Snow; Remove all snow from windows, headlights, taillights, mirrors, and any auxiliary lighting, including license plate area. It is important that all these items are free of snow/ice so you can see and be seen.
- Dirt/Road Grime; Dirt and road grime will cover the lenses of your headlights and taillights, reducing the brightness of the lights. When traveling for long periods of time stop periodically to check these areas.
- Reduced Braking Capacity; Remember that you will need to slow down and begin breaking much sooner on snow or ice covered roads. Make sure to leave extra space between vehicles for stopping.
- Watch for slippery bridge decks; Even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition bridge decks will ice up sooner.
- 4x4 Vehicles; Do not get over confident in your 4x4 vehicle. Remember that your 4x4 vehicle may help you get going quicker but will not help you stop any faster. Your 4x4 vehicle can lose traction just as fast as 2-wheel vehicle.
Respect the winter weather:
- Road conditions; Know the current road conditions, watch local weather forecasts, listen to radio while traveling for updated accident and road conditions.
- Plan ahead; Leave extra time for traveling, a trip that might take you 30 minutes may take up to an hour in the winter.
- Speed; Its almost like everybody forgets how to drive when the snow/ice hits again. Remember to cut your speed in half to be safe.
These tips are designed to alert motorists of some of the most common safety concerns that police officers see on the road in the wintertime. If you have any questions or if any issue is not addressed here please feel free to contact me at any time.
Deputy Ryan Roe
East Precinct Community Police