With a winter weather advisory in place for today around the Wasatch Mountains, let's talk about some pointers on how to handle your car in wintery conditions. This is one of the most dangerous times to be on the roads, so you should be prepared. It's important to note that everything happens slower on snowy or icy roads. Stopping, speeding up, turning, you name it--they will all take a little longer to maneuver with your vehicle. Be sure to give yourself that extra time so you can drive safely.
Let's start with things to do before hitting the road.
1. Don't warm up your vehicle in an enclosed space, like your garage. That will concentrate harsh fumes that are harmful to your health.
2. Check that your tires are properly inflated. Cold weather can release some of the pressure in tires.
3. Keep your gas tank no less than half full to prevent gas line freezing.
4. Are you fatigued or sleepy? Have you been drinking or doing drugs? Step away from the wheel and let someone else drive. Being able to make smart and quick judgements and decisions is important.
5. Don't forget to buckle that seat belt. Safety should always come first.
Now that you've checked off those points, we can move onto how to drive in the snow.
6. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Both applying gas and the breaks should be gradual, not abrupt to prevent slipping or losing control.
7. If you can help it, try to not stop. Slow down to a roll before a light changes to green. It will be easier to keep control rather than having to completely stop then have to get moving again.
8. The safe following distance to the car in front of you should be eight to 10 seconds rather than the usual three to four on dry ground. This will provide the proper distance/time for you to stop when roads are slick.
9. Don't power it up a hill--instead, get some inertia going before taking on that climb. Once on the rise, don't stop if you can help it.
10. Avoid using cruise control on potentially slick surfaces.
But the easiest way to stay safe when winter weather makes the roads tough to drive? Stay home if possible.
Be safe out there!
--- Information from AAA Exchange.