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Posted on: January 2, 2012 By: Jim Gribbins

Driving in Snow and Ice

These are tips from the Indiana Construction Association on driving in snow and ice.  Stay safe on and off the job!

The best advice for driving in snow and ice is to avoid it if you can. If you can’t, it’s important to orient your mind to safely operate your vehicle by making sure your vehicle is prepared, and that you know how to handle the road conditions. Below are a few tips to help make your drive safer in snow and ice.

Drive Safely on Icy Roads:

  • 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 up, gently ease off the brakes.
    Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  • Keep your lights and windshield clean.
    Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  • Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently-traveled roads. These areas will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas.
  • Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind them.
  • Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and frontwheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

If Your Vehicle Starts to Skid:

  • Remain calm.
  • Take your foot off the accelerator.
  • If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  • If you have anti-lock brakes, do not pump them, but apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse; this is normal.
  • Steer to safety.

If You Get Stuck:

  • Do not spin your wheels.  This will only dig you in deeper.
  • Use a light touch on the gas to ease your car out.
  • You may want to try rocking the vehicle.  Give a light touch on the gas pedal and then release it.  Repeating these actions will start a rocking motion and could free you up to get going.
  • If necessary, 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 the wheels to help increase traction.

Just keep in mind that with the winter season comes adverse weather conditions. It is important to always be prepared to operate your vehicle in a defensive manner and watch out for the other vehicles on the road. Driving on snow and ice can be very tricky but can be done safely. Just remember to “Think Safety and Act Safely.”

 

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