Safety on our wintertime roads


Our area has already received a fair amount of snow this winter, and temperatures are dropping below zero. This weekend, there’s a chance of snow in Central New York.

As we enter the frigid days of winter, it’s a good idea to freshen up on your cold weather driving techniques and make sure your vehicle is ready for the chilly season. The following are tips from the AARP on how to stay safe while driving this winter:

• Do a check: After three years, a battery might need replacing. Turn on the headlights, then start the engine. If the lights brighten when the engine is running, your battery is weak and likely ready for a replacement. Also, check that your windshield fluid and engine antifreeze levels are full.

• Be ready: Winter gear you should keep in your automobile includes battery jumper cables, a snow brush, an ice scraper, sand to put under slipping wheels if you’re stuck, a small shovel, a flashlight and batteries, a phone charger, drinking water and snacks. Keep plenty of gas in the tank in case you need to run the engine to stay warm.

• Be seen: Keep your brake lights and turn signals as clean as possible, and remove any snow or ice. Use your headlights in daytime to make your vehicle stand out from the drab winter background. Have reflective triangles and/or a reflective vest to wear if you get stuck and need to exit the car for help.

• Drive gently: Trying to start too quickly, even with all-wheel drive or traction control, can leave you stuck in place. Abruptly changing speeds -- up or down -- can cause the tires to slip and spin.

• Avoid skids: If the back end of the car or truck begins to slide sideways on a slippery surface, turn the steering wheel the same direction as the back end is moving. If it’s dancing out to the left, turn the wheel to the left; if right, turn right. Otherwise you’ll turn the skid into a spin. Antiskid control, common on most cars, helps, but it can’t prevent all slick-road skids.

• Keep warm: Blankets can warm you if you’re stranded. If you keep the engine running to stay warm, open a couple of windows for fresh air in case there’s a dangerous exhaust-system leak that could seep into the car’s interior.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here