AAA warns about driving during winter weather

West Virginia

(Getty Images)

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – With forecasts expecting measurable snowfall Thursday and Friday in West Virginia, AAA is reminding drivers of safe practices for driving during winter weather.

According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, winter storms, bad weather, and sloppy road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every year.

“Preventative steps today can go a long way tomorrow,” said JJ Miller, safety advisor for AAA East Central. “Weather conditions that lead to black ice, heavy snow, and other rough driving conditions are particularly dangerous this time of year.”

AAA East Central offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:

  • Stay Home. This is the number one way to avoid a crash in the winter. 
  • Leave Early. If you’re running late to work, that’s going to lead to anxiety which could cloud judgment, possibly leading to risky driving behaviors.
  • Slow down. Accelerate, turn, and brake as gradually and smoothly as you can. This will help you maintain control in rough conditions.
  • Don’t tailgate. Normal following distances of three to four seconds on dry pavement should be extended to a minimum of five to six seconds when driving on slippery surfaces. The extra time will provide additional braking room should a sudden stop become necessary. 
  • Never use cruise control on slippery roads. If your vehicle hydroplanes or skids, it will be harder to recover from the loss of traction if cruise control is active.
  • Turn against the skid. If your car begins to skid, continue to steer in the direction you want the car to go.

To prepare a vehicle for the winter ahead, AAA recommends the following tips:

  • Have your battery tested. Last winter, AAA East Central contractors responded to more than 66,000 battery calls.
  • Replace worn windshield-wiper blades. Purchase one-piece, beam-type or rubber-clad “winter” blades to fight snow and ice buildup. Use cold-weather windshield washer solvent and carry an ice scraper.
  • Inspect your tires. Make sure tires have adequate tread depth – at least 4/32” – as worn tires can affect a driver’s ability to stop in slick conditions. An easy way to check for wear is by inserting a quarter into your tread groove. If the top of Washington’s head is exposed, the tread depth is less than 4/32″ and it’s time to replace your tires. Also, check that your car has a spare tire and keep it properly inflated in case you need it. In harsh winter climates, a set of snow tires may be a wise investment.
  • Carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather. The kit should include sand or cat litter, a small shovel, flashlight, an ice scraper or snow brush, booster cables, a blanket, gloves or mittens and flares or reflective triangles.

Stick with 12 News and Stormtracker 12 for updates on winter weather.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Link to 12 things you need to know page

WBOY 12 News Facebook Page

Trending Stories