Driving Safely In Winter Weather

You may not live in an area that experiences constant winter weather conditions that affect driving, but the information shared during Pennsylvania’s second annual Winter Driving Awareness Week can be helpful for many of us who may see even occasional ice or snow. Pittsburgh’s KDKA shared some tips that we all can keep in mind when winter weather strikes.

Falling sheets of ice and chunks of snow from the tops of cars and trucks are very dangerous to other drivers. Before you operate your vehicle, please be sure to clear off all snow and ice. Juliann Sheldon of PennDOT District 11, says, “It does seem like such a simple thing. I know the last thing when you wake up in the morning and you need to get to work is to have to clear off your car, but it ultimately could save a life and keep you safer on the roadways.”  Leaving ice and snow on your vehicle can impede your visibility, and you will definitely risk hurting someone else.

Additionally, if snow and ice from your car strikes another car or a pedestrian, you may be subject to some hefty fines, depending on your state laws.

Also, if you need windshield wipers, then turn on your headlights as well. Sheldon reminds drivers, “If your windshield wipers are on in inclement weather, your headlights must also be on. I know it seems like a last minute thing that you might not need to think about when you’re on the roadway, but it’s helping you to be more visible to other motorists on the road as well.”

Preparation for winter driving can save lives. Be sure you have some supplies stocked in your vehicle for emergencies. AAA spokesperson Chelsea Pompeani suggests, “A cell phone, a charger, water, blankets, cat litter for traction and any kind of clothing or winter weather gear just in case you are trapped in your car for a long period of time.” Other necessary items include an ice scraper, de-icer, flash light, blankets and some non-perishable snacks.

If you don’t absolutely have to travel, don’t.  If you do, please give yourself plenty of extra travel time in winter weather. Remember to be on the lookout for plow trucks and other vehicles that may be treating roadways, depending on your area of the country. Also, use low speeds and leave more than enough room between you and other vehicles to allow extra stop time on slick roadways. Stopping distances can be up to ten times longer on slippery surfaces.

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