Tips on Driving Safely in the Snow

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    By Holly Rose

    To avoid a crash this winter, all drivers should take a few steps when going out in the snow, said AAA officials.

    “We always see an increase of crashes during the first snowfall,” said Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokeswoman. “There are more fatal crashes in the summer, but there are more crashes and a higher amount of property damages during the winter.”

    There are several steps that students should take when driving during the cold winter months, especially during the first snow.

    One of the most important things to do is to adjust the speed to accommodate for the icy roads, Fairclough said. When drivers adjust their speed, their reaction time is better.

    During the snowy seasons, drivers should also increase their following distance. A car needs a minimum of four to eight seconds of reaction time between it and the car in front of it, according to information from AAA. A car takes about three times longer to stop on slippery roads.

    Drivers should learn how to read the road conditions and know what to look out for; bridges and overpasses can be especially slippery.

    Steer clear of collisions rather than braking to avoid them. Braking to avoid collisions is not recommended at speeds above 25 miles per hour because less distance is needed to steer around a collision situation than to brake, according to information from AAA. Sudden braking when roads are icy may cause the car to skid.

    Drivers should also be cautious and try to avoid hydroplaning. The chances of hydroplaning can be decreased by reducing speeds, and avoiding hard braking and sharp turns, according to AAA. Driving in the tracks made by the car in front can also reduce the risk of hydroplaning.

    “It is a good idea to keep a full tank of gas,” Fairclough said. “The full tank adds extra weight to the car.”

    Drivers who find that they are in trouble should pull off the road completely and remain in the car with their seatbelt on to ensure safety.

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