Winter Weather Tips

Ten tactics for driving in icy conditions

  1. BE ESPECIALLY MINDFUL OF PEDESTRIANS!!! Obey all traffic rules and regulations and be especially careful when driving in close proximity to pedestrians.  Prepare to stop sooner, to ensure that your brakes will function properly.  If you know that you are having trouble stopping, flash your lights and honk your horn to alert the pedestrian.
  2. Black ice alert: the "crunch" sound of tires on snow fades when you are on dangerous black ice, TURN THE RADIO OFF!  LISTEN TO THE ROAD! Black ice can form from fog or freezing rain and thus, it is practically invisible.  Be especially careful on bridges and overpasses, which are colder and freeze earlier.
  3. If your car starts to skid, DO NOT BRAKE AT ALL. Instead, steer in the direction you want to go, and brake smoothly as the wheels regain control.
  4. Allow at least three times more space between you and the car in front of you.
  5. Drive at a slower, but constant speed.  Go with the flow of traffic and avoid sudden movements.
  6. Use lower gears for better traction, especially on hills.
  7. NEVER use cruise control in slippery conditions; skidding or hydroplaning may cause acceleration.
  8. If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), keep your foot firmly on the brake when you need to stop on an icy road.
  9. If your car does not have ABS, pump the brake rapidly to keep traction when braking on ice or snow.
  10. In fog, use low-beam headlights or fog lamps if you have them. High beams will reflect off the moisture and impair your visibility.
  11. In heavy fog, slow down and crack your window to hear nearby traffic. Use painted road markings as a guide (if you have a passenger, ask him or her to help watch).

(*Tips adapted from Progressive.com, retrieved 2/10/14)

Likewise, walking can be quite dangerous.  Please do not run in snow.  Black ice is not only deleterious to motor vehicles, but can prove extremely dangerous to pedestrians.  Here are a few tips for walking in snow*:

  1. If a journey cannot be avoided walk on a footpath, not in the street. If there are no footpaths walktowards oncoming traffic (the right hand side of the road).  Be extremely careful as frost, ice and snow will make walking on footpaths very dangerous.
  2. Remember that footpaths may not be treated so walk with extreme care, make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear (socks are important) and handware.  Frostbite is a serious matter.
  3. Avoid walking in the streets at all costs when possible. Remember, cars and trucks slip and slide, too! If it’s an emergency, and you can’t avoid the street, wear bright, reflective, high visibility clothing.
  4. Stay warm, but DO NOT impair your vision with clothing (hoodies, ski masks, scarves, hats, etc.) This type of clothing could prevent you from spotting icy conditions that may lead to a fall or not enable you to see a car that is spinning out of control.
  5. Snow and ice cause havoc quickly, so use extra caution when crossing roadways, and always cross at pedestrian crossings.
  6. Ice can easily hide under a light dusting of snow. Just because you don’t see the ice doesn’t mean it’s not there waiting for your unsuspecting footfalls.
  7. If you cannot avoid the ice and snow, bend your knees slightly and take slower, shorter steps to help reduce the chance of a slip and fall and an injury.
  8. Be aware of overhead hazards! Falling icicles and chunks of snow pose a serious risk. In extreme cold weather icicles can build up in size very quickly and are lethal. Their size and dagger-like formation are extremely dangerous for pedestrians. Be aware of what’s happening above you, and stay clear from the edges of buildings.