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Winter weather is upon us! While it may be nice to look at the snow, driving in snow and ice can present extremely dangerous conditions and can result in a car accident. The best suggestion for winter driving is to stay where you are until the roads have been treated. Unfortunately, we can’t always take a “snow day” when the weather is bad. So, here are some things to remember when driving on snowy and icy roads:
1. Make sure you can see. Visibility while driving in hazardous weather is crucial. Clean the inside of your windows and replace wiper blades. Also, make sure your windshield washer system is full of anti-icing fluid to help clear ice and snow from your windshield.
2. Check your tires. According to the website “The Tire Rack,” a tire requires at least a 6/32-inch deep tread to have adequate snow traction. Ultrahigh performance or “summer” tires have minimal grip in snow and, sometimes, even “all-season” tires don’t get the best traction in snow.
3. Check your lights. When the weather is bad, use your headlights so that other cars can see you.
4. Run the air-conditioner. In order to remove frost and condensation from the inside of your windows, turn on your air conditioner and select the fresh air option-it’s ok to keep the temperature setting on hot. Many cars do this automatically when you turn on the defroster.
5. Don’t oversteer. If a slick area in a turn causes your front tires to lose grip, the common, but incorrect, reaction is to continue turning the steering wheel. Turning the steering wheel too much never helps and your car will go whichever way the wheels are pointed. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to fix this situation.
6. Watch for black ice. If the road looks slippery, it probably is. Test the traction with a smooth brake application or a slight turn of the wheel.
7. Know your brakes. Antilock brakes (which are on most cars today) are easy to use properly: Stomp, stay, and steer. Stomp on the pedal, stay hard on the pedal, and steer around the obstacle. Be forewarned, however, that a little bit of steering goes a long way.
8. Don’t be overconfident with technology. All-wheel drive and electronic stability control can give you a false sense of security. All-wheel drive can only help keep you moving.
The Manchin Injury Law Group is concerned for the safety of all West Virginia drivers. Be safe on our roads and allow for plenty of time to get to your destination.