• 50°

Winter weather hazards

The first significant winter weather is forecast for our area this weekend and it is likely we will see more snowfall in the coming weeks.

While it is best to avoid driving when roads are getting covered, sometimes it is unavoidable, with storms striking while one is out or emergency trip necessitating leaving the house.

If you absolutely must drive in the snow, the American Automobile Association offers the following tips:

• Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

• Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning — nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement.

• The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This margin of safety will provide the distance needed if you have to stop.

• Know your brakes. Whether you have anti-lock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure.

• Don’t stop if you can avoid it. 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 inertia carry you to the top.