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Hudson Valley Press

January 8th, 2014

Snow Driving Tips from AAA New York

GARDEN CITY - Weather forecasters’ warnings on the approaching winter storm include the possibility of heavy, blowing snow and sub-freezing temperatures.

“In snowy, cold weather, most calls to AAA are for dead batteries, flat tires, no traction (when a vehicle can’t move due to slippery pavement), extrications (where a car has slid off the road and has to be winched back onto the pavement), and lockouts,” said Robert Sinclair, manager of media relations for AAA New York. “With this in mind, there are things drivers can do before and during the storm to ensure they make it through this potentially dangerous weather event,” Sinclair said.

Check It Out Have a qualified technician check the condition of the vehicle’s cooling, charging and exhaust systems with special attention paid to the battery which can lose 30 percent of its power when the temperature hits freezing, and 60 percent power loss when the thermometer drops to zero. Make sure the vehicle has good wipers and topped-off windshield washer fluid.

Test Conditions When drivers first start out in bad weather, they should test traction by jamming their brakes, with no other cars around, and seeing if the car slides. They will then know the limits of traction.

Avoid Overconfidence Don’t let all-wheel-drive create false security. Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions.  During snowstorms, we all see “cowboys” in vehicles with all-wheel-drive and their superior traction speeding along. But, while AWD is great to get moving, the vehicles stop no better than other vehicles. Vehicles take up to nine times longer to stop in ice and snow compared to clear pavement. Slow down and leave extra following distance in snowy conditions.

 Be Prepared A winter survival kit can mean just that, survival in potentially dangerous winter conditions.

The kit should have: a flashlight, warm clothes and gloves, non-perishable snacks, a blanket, a small shovel and an abrasive like sand or non-clumping kitty litter. The most important kit item is a cell phone and car charger.

Clear the Vehicle Before starting the engine, make sure the tailpipe is clear of any piled up snow. Also, clear ALL snow from a vehicle so it doesn’t blow off and blind another driver.

 These links provide valuable prep and driving info for bad weather:

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