Take it slow on ice and snow

Take it slow on ice and snow

take it slow on snow and ice
All Regions

When roads get frozen, travel bans may keep you off them. But if it’s cold and snowy yet still drivable, there are some things you can be aware of that will help you maneuver in these sometimes-treacherous conditions.

“Remember to take things gradually – stopping, starting and turning,” says Mike Formanowicz, manager of driver training for AAA Western and Central New York. “We don’t get as much traction on snowy, icy or wet roads, so we have to do these things more carefully. Because of this, allow more time to get to your destination.”

Should you happen to get snowbound with your car, the best thing to do is to stay put.

“Your car provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you,” Formanowicz says. “Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow.”

Other tips if your car breaks down:
•    If you try to push your vehicle out of the snow, don’t overexert yourself
•    A bright cloth tied to the antenna or wedged at the top of a rolled-up window signals distress. At night, keep the dome light on if you can.
•    Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. That could cause carbon monoxide to leak into the passenger compartment if the engine is running.
•    Use whatever is available – such as floor mats or newspapers – to insulate yourself from the cold

The main thing is not to panic. In most cases, help will be on the way quickly. AAA, for instance, cross-trains its driving instructors to help with breakdowns during high-volume times. These instructors can perform jumpstarts, give rides to members stranded on the road and help in the office with phone calls.

There’s also something you can do right now to help before you have trouble on the road, Formanowicz says. 

“Now is a good time to check the tread depth on your tires,” he says. “Also, especially as the temperature drops, it’s good to check your tire pressure at least once a month.” 

If it’s been more than three years since you took the AAA Defensive Driving course, sign up today for either the classroom session or the online class. You’ll get a great refresher on other safe driving techniques, and you’ll be able to save money on your car insurance when you’re done.