AAA on how to stay safe on snowy roads

We’re getting some of the true winter weather now. That combined with frigid temperatures, it’s dangerous out there.

AAA shares their best advice for staying safe on the roads in these conditions — starting with not driving the same rate of speed you would drive on dry pavement.

“Slow down, increase that distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Make sure it’s about eight to 10 seconds and don’t be aggressive with your acceleration and your breaking,” said AAA Bluegrass public affairs manager Lori Weaver Hawkins. “That’s gonna end up causing you to go into a skid when that roadways slippery.”

According to Hawkins, make sure you get that momentum going on the flat part of the road before you get to a hill because she says it’s difficult to accelerate when you’re already part-way up the hill when we have road conditions like this. Then you can lay off that accelerator and not end up skidding.

If your vehicle does start to skid or slide, she recommends taking your foot off the brake.
“Steer your vehicle the direction that you want the front of the vehicle to go ’til it will right itself again,” Hawkins said.

The public affairs manager says to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle year-round but when winter comes — add things like jumper cables and deicer.

“Something for traction like kitty litter or a bag of sand… of course, a snow scraper and a snow brush as well,” said Hawkins. “And don’t forget that winter coat. If you’re not someone who likes to drive with a heavy coat on, be sure you have one in the vehicle, along with hat and gloves.”

This time of year often vehicles have battery and tire issues. Hawkins says AAA sees that a lot when it comes to calls for emergency roadside assistance when temperatures dip down to freezing. That battery has about a third less power.

“And when it gets down to zero, which sadly we’re not too far away from overnight; it’s going to have its power diminished by 50 percent,” she said so you need a good strong battery. “At least get it checked and see if it’s time to replace it before you head out.”

With the weather coinciding with National Passenger Safety Week, it’s more important than ever to speak up when in a vehicle being driven unsafely.

“It’s a much better place to be than sitting there nervously because you are not pleased with how your friend or family member’s driving and feel your life is in danger,” said Hawkins. “You can be a part of that solution.”

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