Safe&Sound: 5 Ways to Drive Safely in Snow and Ice (If You Must!)Mon Jan 23, 2017
We all know the safest thing to do when snow or ice is in the forecast is to just stay put. Virginia’s climate is notoriously fickle so this dangerous mix is a constant possibility during winter. That's why it's important to stay aware of the latest weather updates in the southwest and north central Virginia. Check road conditions with alerts and VDOT's free mobile apps, and have an emergency car kit.
And then stick to our experienced advice on driving in Virginia's icy precipitation with these 5 steps:
1. BE HUMBLE & RESPECT THE ELEMENTS
No driver (no matter how experienced) and no vehicle (no matter how well-equipped) can drive well in ice.
2. SLOW DOWN
Drive the conditions!
3. DRIVE DEFENSIVELY
Allow extra room between you and car ahead of you and avoid changing lanes or passing.
4. AVOID BRAKING
Control your speed so you can minimize braking as much as possible.
5. IF YOU START TO SLIDE:
- Take your foot off the accelerator
- Stay calm but alert
- TURN INTO THE SLIDE: Turn your front wheels in the same direction that the rear of your car is sliding. For example if the rear of the car is sliding to the right, turn the wheel to the right.
- Do not over correct (turn the steering wheel the opposite direction).
- Most cars have anti-lock brakes that safely pumps the brakes for you in this situation. If you have an older vehicle that does not, you should pump the brakes yourself rather than hold the brake pedal down.
REMEMBER: Bridges and overpasses freeze first because frigid air can blow over AND under them. Use extra caution even when other road surfaces seem fine.
Finally, the Virginia Department of Transportation has great information for safe winter driving. While VDOT warns against all unnecessary travel in winter weather, they recommend having an emergency car kit, and staying up-to-date with statewide highway information 24 hours a day by calling 511 or visiting http://www.511virginia.org/.
We hope you stay safe and sound on the road this winter, Virginia! And we're here for you if you need us!