Our area has been relatively snow free so far this winter season but don't expect it to continue.
Winter will soon rear its ugly head and we will all have total recall of what previous years have subjected us to.
We experienced our first little preview this past week with the colder temperatures and the precipitation in the form of much unwelcomed drizzle which left many of our residential roadways ice glazed, necessitating the need for a crash, refresher course in winter driving safety.
All local law enforcement officials will tell you there are a few common sense rules of the road that come into play that will go a long way in ensuring everyone's safety.
Most importantly, is maintaining a safe distance between your vehicle and the traffic ahead, so if a sudden stop is required, everyone has the time and ability to comply.
Motorists should also pay close attention to bridges and overpasses, as they are often the first to freeze over; and to drive slowly, as everything including accelerating, turning and braking, takes longer on snow-covered roadways.
Having clear visibility, without any of your windows obstructed, is also key.
Before you head out, be sure to clear away snow from your car's windows and from the entire vehicle. Wait for your car to warm up and melt ice on the windows. Being able to see is a prime need for driving safely. That's also why drivers should clear snow from their vehicle. Snow blowing off a moving car can blind other drivers.
On that note of keeping windows clean, make sure the windshield washer fluid reservoir is filled with fluid that doesn't freeze easily. Regular washer fluid freezes as temperatures drop to their wintertime lows. There are fluids with lower freezing points.
Also know where your snow brush and ice scraper are; and buy new ones if the old ones are worn out.
If your destination is some distance away, keep a winter-driving kit in your vehicle that includes a cell phone with car charger; road flares or reflectors; help or call police signs; a first-aid kit; flashlight; blanket or sleeping bag; a small shovel; bottled water and energy foods; candles and matches; and a tow strap or chain.
Many states have phone or Internet services for up-to-date road conditions. Check ahead to see what you may be facing and change plans accordingly. Also, keep an eye on weather forecasts for that area.
All in all, being prepared is the best way to deal with any type of winter driving you encounter. Most off all, be patient and take your time when driving on snow- and ice-covered roads, whether they be in the heart of the city, on the Interstate, or in the rural less traveled areas.
Winter driving doesn't have to be something everyone dreads. A few simple precautions practiced by everyone can greatly increase chances of safely getting to your destination without any unnecessary glitches along the way.