Winter Storm Helena is expected to bring snow and ice to portions of Georgia and AAA warns motorists to be cautious while driving during adverse weather conditions.
According to data from the Federal Highway Administration, each year 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet.
“The safest place to be during extreme weather conditions is indoors but unfortunately for some that’s not always possible,” said Garrett Townsend, Georgia Public Affairs Director, The Auto Club Group. “It is imperative that motorists follow safe driving habits in order to stay safe in the elements.”
If motorists must travel during adverse weather conditions, making sure your vehicle is running well and properly equipped for driving on potentially dangerous roads.
AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:
Know the local forecast: The State Police encourages motorists to take note of local forecasts and plan accordingly for adverse weather conditions. Motorists are reminded that they can dial 511 on their cell phones for current traffic and road conditions.
Vehicle preparation: Motorists should ensure their vehicles are well-maintained and properly equipped for winter driving.
Fluids: Motorists should check the fluid levels of their vehicles, particularly washer fluid and antifreeze, to ensure they are at adequate levels.
Tires: Tires should be inspected to ensure they are properly inflated and have sufficient tread depth.
Winter Weather Kit: Motorists should equip their vehicles with a snow shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, flares, a flashlight and some warm clothing and blankets.
Clear Snow and Ice: Motorists are reminded to completely clear their vehicles of snow and ice prior to driving, including all lights for visibility. Clearing vehicles of snow and ice enhances the safety of all motorists by providing an unobstructed view to the operator and prevents snow and ice from flying off vehicles at high speeds and posing a hazard to others on the road. Motorists should also carry a charged cellular phone.
Reduce speed: Anticipate delays. Most snow- and ice-related crashes are caused by vehicles sliding off the road because they are traveling at speeds too great for the road and weather conditions. Posted speed limits are set for driving under optimal, dry conditions. If road and weather conditions are adverse, motorists should operate at a speed well below the posted limit.
Leave extra space between vehicles: Increase your following distance to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
Black ice: Transparent ice may form on the roadway. If you notice ice forming on any object, assume that it is forming on the road surface as well. Bridges are usually the first surfaces to freeze. Drive slowly and, if possible, avoid driving on icy surfaces.
Buckle up: Ensuring that everyone in your vehicle is properly restrained is the single most effective thing motorists can do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe on the roads.
Dial 911 in roadway emergencies: In any weather conditions, motorists who become disabled or encounter an emergency on the roadways should dial 911 on their cellular phones to immediately be connected to a state police communications center. Motorists should always be aware of their location, noting the route they are traveling on and the number of the exit they most recently passed.