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Drew: Winter inclement weather driving safety tips

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

Rain, cold temperatures, sleet and driving is a common recipe during winter months for many citizens in our geographical region, especially since driving is the primary source of transportation for both old and young. This recipe contains many safety cautions many disregard, not because they don’t want to be safe, but merely due to regular driving habits.

Let’s keep in mind the road speed limit signs are meant for when weather conditions are good – not when there’s rain, ice and/or snow. No matter how experienced a driver you may be, winter driving requires you to slow down and adjust your driving. It is your instinct to want to drive normally, but this is not a wise choice. You need to be patient and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.

One of the best winter driving precautions is tires! Make sure your tires have the correct air pressure and treads. You may want to get snow chains if you live in an area with frequent snow.

Turn off your cruise control. Driving in rain or snow, over slick surfaces, can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Many falsely believe it will help them stay at a steady speed when in truth it has the potential to help your vehicle hydroplane. If your vehicle begins to hydroplane while in cruise control it will go faster. Remember not to panic if this should occur. Always follow the safety rules pertaining to hydroplaning – let off the pressure on the accelerator (gas pedal) slowly, and steer straight until you regain control. If your car starts to spin, turn your wheel in the direction that the vehicle is spinning, slowly. DO NOT turn your vehicle against the direction it has begun to spin. Do not jerk the wheel sharply in one direction or the other. This can make the car flip.

Slow down and be very cautious about changing lanes. Never drive fast during the rain, sleet or snow. Avoid driving on icy roads as much as possible. It is important to keep up with the weather conditions and road closures/ accidents.

Avoid driving on icy roads. Be careful of black ice on the road. Drive in areas with sand to prevent skidding. It’s always wise to postpone your trip when road conditions are not good or during a true winter storm.

Keeping an Eye on Safety when driving during various inclement winter weather conditions requires you to think, be patient and have humility – understanding no matter how much of a skilled driver you are or the type of vehicle you drive – everyone needs to follow the same safety driving rules.