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Posted at 9:00 PM ET, 01/27/2009

Winter Weather Driving Tips

By Ann Posegate

* Latest Forecast Update *


A car drives through snowy conditions in Glover Park. By Capital Weather Gang photographer Ian Livingston.

The best way to stay safe from slick roads today and tomorrow is to not drive if you don't have to. If you do venture out onto roadways, here are a few things to keep in mind.

*Clear the Car: Before you drive, clear all ice and snow off of your car, including the windows and front and rear headlights. Clear any loose snow from your hood and roof to prevent it blowing onto your windshield or onto another car while you are driving.

*Let Someone Know When You Go: Let someone know where you are headed and what time you expect to be there.

*Leave Your Lights On: Keep your headlights on, even during the day.

*Speed and Distance: Travel at or below the speed limit and give yourself extra space behind other vehicles. Increase your stopping time even if you are driving a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Keep reading for more winter weather driving tips...

*On Thin Ice: If you must brake quickly over snow or ice, press and hold the brake firmly if you have anti-lock brakes (ABS). If you do not have ABS, gradually pump the brake, increasing in firmness as your vehicle slows.

*Steer Clear: If you find your rear wheels skidding on ice, turn in the direction you want your front wheels to go (if the rear is skidding right, turn the wheel right). You may have to do this a few times in either direction for the wheels to set straight. Then, apply the brake. If your front wheels skid, release the gas pedal and put the car in neutral. As the vehicle slows, gradually steer in the direction you want to go. These are the best practices in either a front or rear-wheel drive vehicle.

*Invisible Ice: Temperatures at or below freezing can lead to patches of "black ice" - clear ice on the roads that is nearly invisible from the driver's view. Use caution on bridges, overpasses, and intersections where icing is common.

For more tips, check out these fact sheets from the Departments of Transportation in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

By Ann Posegate  | January 27, 2009; 9:00 PM ET
Categories:  Posegate, Winter Storms  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Snow Becoming Ice, Treacherous Travel
Next: Ice Sets Stage for Sloppy AM Commute

Comments

That advice about skidding on ice (how to turn the wheel, when to brake and not brake, etc.) always sounds so great until I am actually skidding and do everything wrong reflexively in the split second that I have to react.

Does anyone else have that problem?

Posted by: LaurainNWDC | January 27, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes, LaurainNWDC, I have that problem too. Someone advised me once to practice in an empty parking lot until those reflexes stop taking over.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 27, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I Heard and saw on the news that a good deal if todays accidents were people driving four wheel drives. They think b.c they are, that nothing can happen to them! IMO DC/NOVA has the WORST winter weather drivers around! Its like none of them have sense enough to slow down. but I guess thats what we get when we hardly see snow anymore is people are not used to it.

Posted by: clintonportis17 | January 27, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Just in case, I put a bag of cat litter (can be used for traction) and shovel in my trunk when winter weather is anticipated.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 27, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Everythings glazed around here, the roads aren't plowed here in western FFX county. I highly doubt Fairfax County schools will open tommorow.

Posted by: Snowman_In_Herndon | January 27, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Folks, there was one measly inch of snow today! Goodness, in many places in America nobody would give a second thought to this little bit of snowfall. Use common sense on the roads. Not a big deal.

Posted by: bufan | January 27, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Bufan, I hear your point that we didn't get much snow. I completely agree there are some people that don't have common sense and lose control.

...but in defense of metro-DC drivers, we have horrible traffic on a perfect day.
Add in snow + slower speeds and it's easy to see why there are even bigger problems.

Winter driving tips like maintaining momentum and not stopping on a hill? That's easier said than done when you're in stop and go traffic with a stop light at the top of the hill.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 28, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

LaurainNWDC, you're on the right track. It's difficult to make the right corrections unless you've trained yourself. Take a class from a professional school or join a club that offers classes on a closed circuit. The advice given by CWG is basic and not altogether accurate.

Posted by: washedup | January 28, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

LaurainNWDC, you're on the right track. It's difficult to make the right corrections unless you've trained yourself. Take a class from a professional school or join a club that offers classes on a closed circuit. The advice given by CWG is basic and not altogether accurate.

Posted by: washedup | January 28, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

LaurainNWDC, you're on the right track. It's difficult to make the right corrections unless you've trained yourself. Take a class from a professional school or join a club that offers classes on a closed circuit. The advice given by CWG is basic and not altogether accurate.

Posted by: washedup | January 28, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

LaurainNWDC and others,

Here are more detailed winter driving tips from the New York State DMV...straight from the horse's mouth. Practicing in a deserted parking lot also sounds like a good idea.

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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