Last week’s Snowmageddom has taught Georgians the wisdom of staying home and off the roads unless it is necessary to drive. Unfortunately, some people will have to travel these roads despite the bad weather.
Having learned lessons the hard way people and politicians are preparing for the second ice storm in as many weeks. This time everyone is taking heed and paying particular attention to the possibility of excessive ice. Schools are going to be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday while many businesses are evaluating whether to open. State officials are asking truckers to avoid metro Atlanta roads until the ice storm has passed.
The following tips are for those who may find themselves facing the challenges of driving on icy roads with little or no experience. In almost every instant, whether accelerating or braking, remember that less is more.
1. Slow down when driving in snowy and icy conditions. You can never be too careful when driving on an icy road. The biggest mistake drivers make is driving too fast and not taking icy road conditions seriously enough.
2. Give your vehicle plenty of room. Keep two or three car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you. A small mistake can turn into a big one if you are following too closely.
3. Be gentle when applying your brakes. Consider that stopping on a slippery road will take more time than driving on a dry road. Avoid slamming on your brakes if possible.
4. Do not over steer if your vehicle starts to slip or slide. Overcorrecting the steering wheel too vigorously will compound your driving problems, possibly causing your vehicle to spin out of control.
5. Use lower gears when going up or down an icy road with an incline. Second gear can be your best friend when driving under these conditions.
6. Use second gear when driving up a hill. Make sure the vehicle ahead of you has made it to the top before you begin. If you get stuck half way up the hill, back up and begin again. Use enough engine power to get your vehicle up the hill without spinning your vehicle’s wheels. Do not intentionally slow down as you are going uphill. You will need continual momentum to be successful.
7. Do not gun the accelerator if your wheels are spinning. Gunning will cause your vehicle to become even more entrenched. If your vehicle is stuck, use kitty litter, plywood, old cardboard and place under the rear wheels to help get your vehicle going in the right direction.
Few things are as scary as being in a vehicle that spins or slips and slides during an ice and snowstorm. Being prepared is your best defense. Remember to clean your windows before you start, buckle up and stay calm.