Although winter officially arrives next Monday, Connecticut drivers can expect to see the season’s first major snowfall later this week, and with any winter storm, driving on ice and snow can be challenging even for the most experienced driver, says AAA Northeast.
“You certainly don’t want to be dashing through the snow during snowy weather because winter driving requires different tactics from everyday driving,” warns Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman.
During and after the first significant snowfall last winter on December 1 – 3, nearly 700 crashes occurred on Connecticut roads, a number equivalent to one crash every 7 minutes, Mayko said.
To maneuver safely during — or even following — a storm, drivers need to increase their visibility and traction on ice- or snow-covered roads, she added.
If you must travel in snowy weather, AAA Northeast provides these tips:
- Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning — nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. So, give yourself time and space to maneuver by reducing your speed. That means increasing your following distance between vehicles.
- Take it Easy – Stagger your position on roadways; brake early as you approach intersections to compensate for skidding; slowly accelerate up hills and don’t stop until you’re over the crest.
- Get a Grip – Installing snow tires on all four wheels provides the best traction. All-season tires work well in light to moderate snow conditions provided they have adequate tread. By this time, you should have checked your tires for tread issues and filled your tires to the proper pressure.
- See and Be Seen – Wiper blades should completely clear windshields with each swipe. Replace any blade that skitters, leaves streaks or misses spots. Consider more expensive winter blades to prevent snow and ice buildup. A vehicle’s lights should also be in good working order.
- Stay home – If you don’t need to drive in snowy weather, stay home. Sometimes the best decision is not to drive, even if you can drive well in the snow.