Cold, winter weather is here Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 January 2018
Special to GUIDON

Winter is here and the icy season is right around the corner. Listed below are some helpful tips to make your winter driving a little more pleasant and a lot safer. It is essential that you take time to review what is needed to stay safe when driving during inclement road conditions — before you head out.

Driving in snow: Most drivers aren’t prepared for winter driving and forget to take it slow. Remember to drive well below the posted speed limit and leave plenty of room between cars. You’ll need the additional distance for braking.

Prepare: Safe drivers know the weather and their own limits. Before leaving home, find out about the driving conditions by logging on to; listen to local radio stations for any delayed reporting instructions or local weather conditions; and monitor current road conditions during severe weather by calling the SNAIR hotline at 573.563.4141. If the weather is bad, remember the rhyme: “Ice and Snow … Take it Slow, or Just Don’t Go.”

Make the right call: Use good judgment and drive within your level of experience.

Black ice: Roads that seem dry may actually be slippery — and very dangerous. Use extra caution, especially  when approaching bridges, overpasses, off-ramps or shady areas. The surfaces of these areas freeze faster than the remainder of the road surface, and they are the most likely spots for black ice. You won’t see black ice until you are on it. Slow down as you approach these areas and also as you approach intersections, hills and curves — especially when approaching an intersection adjacent to a hill.

 Limited visibility: In conditions of limited visibility, be aware of what’s going on well ahead of you. Actions by other vehicles will alert you to problems more quickly and give you that split-second of extra time to react safely. Use your headlights — on dim — so other drivers can more easily see you.

Speed and distance: Remember, the faster you’re going, the longer it will take to stop. When accelerating on snow or ice, take it slow to avoid slipping and sliding. Spinning tires in snow usually just melts the snow for an instant, then re-freezes as a much slicker layer of ice.

Braking: Brake early, brake slowly, brake correctly, and never slam on the brakes. If you have anti-lock brakes, press the pedal  down firmly and hold it. If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, gently pump the pedal. Either way, give yourself plenty of room to stop.

Control: When driving on ice and snow, do not use cruise control, and avoid abrupt steering maneuvers. When merging into traffic, take it slow. Sudden movements can cause your vehicle to slide. Watch out for other drivers, who may not be as careful as you are.

Clear: Remove any snow on your vehicle’s windows, mirrors, lights, brake lights and signals. Remove excess snow on the hood as well. Leaving snow on the hood, can create your own personal blizzard. Make sure you can see and be seen.

Inspect: Check your vehicle’s tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts and hoses. A breakdown is bad on a good day and dangerous on a bad-weather day.

Time: Leave plenty of time to reach your destination safely. Weather conditions can increase travel time. If you don’t plan for delays, you increase the dangers by trying to be on time.

(Editor’s note: Information provided by the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Safety Office and the Army Safety Center, Fort Rucker, Ala.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 January 2018 )