Safety Tips For Driving In A Snowstorm

As Central New York deals with this current snowstorm, Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol is reminding motorists of these simple tips that can help to keep you safe.

Maintain a safe following distance:

Ensure there are always 3 seconds between your car and the vehicle in front of you to give yourself enough time to stop safely and avoid a collision. In slick or icy conditions like today, double the 3-second rule to 6 seconds.

Clear the snow:

If you can’t see out all vehicle windows, you can’t drive safely. Remove snow and ice from all windows and side mirrors.

De-ice your windshield:

Keep your windshield washer tank full at all times. Be sure wiper blades are in good condition.

Avoid using cruise control:

You need to be alert and in control at all times, so save cruise control for normal road conditions. In general, avoid using cruise control any time the road surface is less than ideal.

Reduce your speed:

Slow down. It can take much longer to stop in snowy or icy conditions. Also, ease your foot gently but firmly onto your brakes. Spiking them quickly can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

Use your anti-lock brakes (ABS) properly:

ABS brakes can be effective, but the feeling under your foot and the grinding sound the make can be jarring. Don’t let this startle you; just maintain firm, constant pressure. Your vehicle owners’ manual explains how they work and how they should be used in inclement conditions. They are less stressful to use when you know the sensation to expect when they’re engaged.

Install snow tires:

Compared to all-weather tires, snow or winter tires have tread designed to maintain a better grip on icy and snowy surfaces. Experts recommend installing winter tires on all 4 wheels.

Avoid certain roads:

If possible, avoid driving on roads until they’ve been plowed and de-iced. On roads that have yet to be cleared, slow down, turn off your cruise control, and avoid sudden braking or acceleration and unnecessary stops. If you suddenly feel your tires have lost their grip on the road, stay calm and gently steer in the direction you wish to go without over-correcting. Keep a light touch on the steering wheel; a white-knuckle grip can lead to overreaction and loss of control.