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Safety Tips for Driving in Snowy Conditions

It's best to stay off the roads during snowfall, but if you must go out, try to follow these guidelines.

Just after 3 p.m. on Friday, snow began hitting the Philadelphia region, starting what the Weather Channel has dubbed "Winter Storm Khan." Khan is projected to deposit about one to two inches of snow in the Bucks-Montgomery County region, possibly reaching three inches in some areas. The continued cold weather will also create icy conditions tomorrow, making road travel problematic. 

Earlier today, AAA Mid-Atlantic sent out a press relase with some safe driving tips that motorists would be wise to follow during cold and snowy weather. They include:

  • Get Your Battery Checked – Batteries are always the biggest culprit for roadside assistance during a cold snap. Even at 32 degrees, a battery is 35 percent weaker. 
  • Frozen Car Door Locks – With moisture from the ice and snow combining with frigid temperatures, lock failure will be very common.  Thaw a lock by: carefully heating the end of a key with a match or lighter; heating the lock with a hair dryer, or using a can of de-icer spray.  Never pour hot water on a lock or windshield because this could worsen the problem or cause the windshield to shatter.
  • Antifreeze - Make certain cooling system antifreeze is mixed with an equal portion of water for maximum protection. 
  • CO2 Dangers - Don’t let frigid temperatures tempt you into starting your car in a closed garage or idling your engine for long periods with the windows closed.  Carbon monoxide, present in exhaust fumes, is almost impossible to detect and can be fatal when breathed in a confined area.
  • Check Tire Pressure – Cold weather reduces tire inflation pressure, so check tire pressures frequently and maintain the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended levels (see car manual, not tire itself!).
  • Slow downAllow extra time to reach your destination, and allow extra following distance for safety.
  • Use major routesMajor roads are cleared and treated first.  Avoid secondary roads.
  • Pack an emergency kit.  Ice scraper, shovels, kitty litter, towels, blankets, coats, mittens, a cell phone, water and extra food in case you’re stranded.
  • Avoid slamming on brakes. Minimize brake use on very slippery, icy roads and hills; if further speed reduction is needed use a gentle and slow brake application.
  • Do not panic. If your vehicle skids out of control steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go. To regain control of your vehicle, stay calm.
Kathleen Reidy January 27, 2013 at 02:32 PM
When conditions are bad I try to be cautious but always end up with an idiot up my tail pipe. They think because they have an SUV they can still go 90 just like they do in the commercial. Last year an idiot like that passed me and a minute later guess who I saw minus a bumper in a ditch?
Denson vendor March 20, 2013 at 05:42 AM
When driving in snow, Clear all snow and ice from the windscreen and the roof of the car before driving off. Do not use water to de-ice windscreens. Hot water can crack the glass and the water will only freeze again on the screen or on the ground where you are standing. http://www.ingear.ie/

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