Question: Can you talk about winter driving safety?
Answer: This is a great time to talk about it and remind drivers about the dangers of driving on slippery roads and reducing chances of being involved in a crash.
- Avoid unnecessary travel if conditions are poor.
- Buckle up, and make sure child restraints are tightly secured.
- Drive at safe speeds according to road conditions, and provide for plenty of travel time.
- Increase safe stopping distance between vehicles.
- Use extra precautions when driving around snowplows by keeping at least five car-lengths behind plows.
- If skidding, remain calm, ease foot off the gas, and turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
- If vehicle has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), apply a steady firm pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump ABS brakes.
- Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights, and directional signals.
- Headlights must be turned on when it is snowing or sleeting.
- Do not use cruise control on snow/icy/wet roads. Conditions can change over every hill and around every curve. Be very aware of bridge decks and overpasses as they become icy.
- Equip vehicles with a scraper/brush, small shovel, jumper cables, tow chain, and a bag of sand or cat litter for tire traction. Blanket(s), heavy boots, warm clothing, and flashlights are also important, as are storing high-energy foods such as chocolate or energy bars.
- Be sure cell phones are charged for long trips, and inform family of destination plans and schedule.
- If stranded, stay in the vehicle.
- Parents of teen drivers should make sure new motorists experience snow and ice driving in a safe environment, such as an empty parking lot.
- Slow down and move over for emergency vehicles parked at a scene.
- Have good winter type tires on your vehicle.
- Have a good set of windshield wipers on your vehicle.
- For weather-related road condition information, call 5-1-1 or visit www.511mn.org.
Remember that you can’t control how other drivers are driving, but you can reduce your chances of being involved in a crash if you follow basic winter driving safety tips.