Winter driving conditions

Wintry weather and frigid temperatures could lead to hazardous driving conditions, so AAA is advising motorists to drive carefully if they have to travel.

Snow and cold weather can create extremely dangerous driving conditions for motorists on most highways statewide.  AAA advises motorists to prepare themselves and their car. 

Motorists are advised to monitor weather conditions and follow advice from authorities.  If it is not safe to travel and you don’t have to travel, don’t drive.

During severe winter weather AAA receives a high number of road service calls. AAA also advises that priority service will be given to members who are stranded or in a dangerous situation.

AAA recommends if motorists become stranded, it is best to stay with the vehicle. Your car can provide shelter and enable emergency responders to best locate you. If you can start your engine, run it only long enough to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is snow-free. 

Proper Preparation

Preparing for frigid weather conditions will help keep your vehicle on the road, advises AAA.  Motorists can help keep their vehicles on the road by doing the following:

  • Check your battery strength. Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At 0 degrees, a good battery has 35 percent less starting power. Additionally, batteries that are 3-5 years old will have much less starting power in cold conditions.  
  • Have tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can be dangerous, and may suffer damage. Tire air pressure decreases 1-2 psi for every 10 degree temperature drop.
  • Park your car in the garage. If you have no garage, put a tarp over the hood or park protected from prevailing winds. To keep doors from freezing shut, place a plastic trash bag between the door and the frame.
  • Make sure your car has an emergency kit, which should include the following:
    • Cell phone and charger
    • Jumper cables
    • Warm gear for all potential passengers – boots, hats, gloves, blankets
    • Flares and flashlight and extra batteries
    • Extra food and water for all potential passengers
    • General first aid kit
    • Ice scraper, snow brush and shovel
    • Windshield washer fluid

Driving in the cold

When taking to the road during winter weather, remember to drive with caution to help maintain your safety as well as that of passengers, fellow motorists and roadside workers. AAA recommends the following tips for winter driving:

  • Avoid braking on ice. If you’re approaching a patch of ice, brake during your approach. Control the skid. Applying pressure to your brakes while on ice will throw your car into a skid.
  • Keep the fuel tank at least half-full to avoid fuel-line freeze up.
  • Drive with your low-beam headlights illuminated.
  • Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections, even when the rest of the road seems to be in good condition.
  • Don’t use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.
  • Remember that four-wheel drive helps you to get going quicker, but it won’t help you stop any faster.
  • Apply constant, firm pressure to the pedal with anti-lock brakes.

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