Tips on Safe Driving in Snow and Ice

Tips on Safe Driving in Snow and Ice

November 15, 2018

Southern New England’s first snowfall is arriving early this year for much of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The Ocean State hasn’t seen its first snowfall in November since 2014. With 1 to 3 inches of snow and sleet arriving in time for this evening’s rush hour commute, here are some tips to keep in mind as your drive home this evening.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 70% of U.S. roads are located within cold-weather zones that receive 5 or more inches of snow every winter and that most accidental deaths during those months are attributable to auto accidents.

This evening’s snow is expected to eventually turn into rain, causing roads to become slippery. Take these precautions into consideration as you drive home this evening!

  • Be prepared and inspect your car prior to travel – make sure you replace worn windshields and wiper blades with new ones, have windshield washer fluid and the correct tire inflation.
  • Clear all snow and ice from your vehicle – windows, mirrors, lights, hood, roof and trunk.
  • Increase your following distance – eight or ten seconds to the car in front of you.
  • Drive slowly – accelerating, stopping and turning takes time on snow and ice. Give yourself time to maneuver. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads. And, just because you have a car or truck that’s 4-wheel or all-wheel drive (AWD) doesn’t mean it won’t skid out of control.  Wintertime bridges and overpasses can be especially hazardous first though in the morning when most of us are commuting to work or school. If your vehicle has antilock brakes (ABS) or electronic stability control (ESC), those features lose their effectiveness when your tires are worn, or if you corner or drive too fast on icy pavement.
  • Avoid using cruise control on wet, icy or snowy roads – you want as much control of your car as possible. Be cautious on bridges and overpasses as they are commonly the first areas to become icy, and avoid passing snow plows and sand trucks. The drivers can have limited visibility, and the road in front of them could be worse than the road behind.

“The first winter storms of the season usually result in numerous crashes because people fail to adjust their driving habits to the road conditions,” Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, superintendent of the Rhode Island state police said. “With temperatures at or below freezing, wet weather can create slippery driving conditions that require motorists to use more care.”