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Winter Weather Driving Tips - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Winter Weather Driving Tips

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Now that we've covered vehicle preparation for the upcoming winter season, now it's important to go over tips for winter weather driving. Road conditions deteriorate quickly when snow starts falling on very cold days. Winter weather is responsible for ~24% of all vehicle accidents per year. While you can't control factors such as the weather or how other drivers react in it, you can help limit the danger on the roads by following simple defensive driving techniques. 

When you're driving on a snow covered roadway:

1. SLOW DOWN

Don't worry, you're not the only person in the world that gets a little flustered when the flakes start falling. It's not uncommon to want to get home or to your next destination quickly. While it may seem like a good idea to rush from A to B, this is the complete opposite of what you should do. When it comes to driving in the snow, physics become more apparent. Objects in motion, have less friction to slow them down Remember Newton's Laws?

2. Make Changes Slowly

Your vehicle is heavy. I will take time and energy to make it move (or stop). Sudden changes to a vehicle are dangerous in bad weather conditions. Accelerating or decelerating to quickly will cause tires to lose traction and will lead to spin outs or slides. Neither of which you want on a snowy roadway. If you begin to spin or slide, DO NOT slam on the breaks. This will only make the slide worse as tires will immediately lose all available traction. Brake slowly.

3. Say NO to Cruise

Do not follow Florida Georgia Line's advice. Leave your windows up and lay off the cruise control. It makes our lives easier, except when it snows. You need as much control of your vehicle and letting it power itself over bad road conditions is a recipe for disaster.

4. Direction of Travel

Look and steer in the direction you want to go. This comes in handy in a slide or “fishtail.” Your immediate reaction will be to “steer” into the slide, but you should avoid this urge. Lay off the brake and turn the wheel in the same direction the back of your car is going. This will slow you down and correct the issue.

5. More Distance

Nothing will spoil your day more than having to call the insurance company and explain why your vehicle is in the back of another. Distances between cars on the roads should be doubled (if not tripled) to allow you to make a better decision if in the case you do slide. Following too closely will eventually end in a crash. It's only a matter of time.

6. Let the Road Help You

We have many elevation changes on the roads in Kentucky. Hills only make things worse. Our immediate reaction is to accelerate going up hills and decelerate going down. Try to avoid this too much. Remember the “make changes slowly” tip earlier? It's better to get a little more speed before making the climb and letting the vehicle naturally slow down while reaching the crest. Let the road work in your favor, instead of using the vehicle to perform these tasks.

These are just a few tips to help you battle snow covered roads. Whether that first snow is this weekend, or a month from now, you can stay safe by driving defensively and using your best judgment on the roads this winter season.

Stay safe on the roads this winter!

- Meteorologist Seth Phillips

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