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Drive Smart Georgia offers tips for driving on ice, snow as storm hits Atlanta

A rare ice and snowstorm continues to hit Atlanta on Feb. 12. According to Fox News, the storm has already caused havoc on southern roads and more ice and snow are expected throughout the day and into Thursday. At one point, more than 200,000 Georgia Power customers were in the dark after losing power earlier today. Almost 70% of all flights arriving in and departing from Atlanta have been canceled. The good news is that most residents have heeded the warning and are staying off the roads. However, at some point, everyone must venture out. Because of this, Drive Smart Georgia spoke to to offer valuable tips for driving on ice and snow.

Bryan Fuller and his son play on the icy streets of a Druid Hills neighborhood in their customized golf cart on February 12, 2014 in Atlanta.
Bryan Fuller and his son play on the icy streets of a Druid Hills neighborhood in their customized golf cart on February 12, 2014 in Atlanta.
Davis Turner/Getty Images
Pedestrians cross deserted and icy streets in Atlanta after overnight freezing precipitation created hazardous driving conditions.
Davis Turner/Getty Images

According to Steve Jones, co-owner of Drive Smart Georgia, driving conditions in Atlanta remain dangerous. DOT is busy keeping major highways up and running, but side roads are icy and remain mostly untreated. As posted by CNN on Feb. 12, Gov. Deal explained on Monday that ice is Atlanta’s biggest enemy. Not only does it make roads treacherous, but it also brings down power lines and tree limbs. ABC News reported on Tuesday morning that the worst is yet to come.

If you do have to get out, Drive Smart Georgia, a premiere driving school in Alpharetta, offers the following safety tips for driving on ice and snow.

  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on ice or snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, and turning - nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • Don't stop if you can avoid it. There's a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don't power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that momentum carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe isn't clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • Stay home. If you really don't have to go out, don't. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Why tempt fate? If you don't have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

If you must hit the roads, be sure to pack a survival kit in case you become stranded on icy roads. A little preparation can go a long way. According to AAA, your winter emergency road kit should include:

  • Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt or kitty litter) or traction mats
  • Snow shovel
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Window washer solvent
  • Ice scraper with brush
  • Cloth or roll of paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • Extra warm clothing
  • Blankets
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • First-aid kit
  • Basic tool kit
  • Mobile phone and car charger

To see how Atlanta prepared for the latest round of snow and ice, be sure to watch the video above from ABC News. To see the latest photos of snow and ice in Atlanta, check out the slideshow.

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