While it may not officially be winter yet, winter driving conditions may be experienced as temperatures drop and snow begins to fall. AAA is recommending drivers take precautions for winter driving.
“If you’re going to be driving on snowy roads you want to leave a little bit earlier so you’re not stressed, so you don’t have to make any abrupt movements.” said Bevi Powell, senior vice president with AAA East Central. “You want to avoid stepping on your gas real hard, you also want to avoid stepping on your brakes real hard. Always easy, smooth movements to maintain control of the car.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported 427 crashes last winter; there were two fatalities and 130 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways. PennDOT recommends slowing down in wintry weather, avoiding distractions while driving and increasing following distance. In addition to changing driving habits, AAA recommends making sure the vehicle itself is ready for the cold.
“The fluctuation in temperature, of course, can affect the power of your battery, so make sure you have your battery checked and make sure that it is in proper working order,” said Powell. “You also want to make sure your tires have enough air in them because the cold weather affects the air.”
There are also recommended items to keep in vehicles in the event of an emergency.
“You want to make sure that you have an emergency road kit that contains some sort of abrasive material in case your car becomes stuck such as kitty litter that you can put behind your wheels,” said Powell. “You want to have a flashlight, some flares, have a fully-charged cell phone so that you can call for help.”
PennDOT also suggests items such as a small snow shovel, blanket, first-aid supplies, water, warm clothes and any items for specific needs such as supplies for a baby. Drivers can check road conditions of state roads at www.511PA.com.