CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Driving in the winter months can be daunting to some, especially for those who didn’t grow up with snow around.
In less-than-favorable conditions, AAA has some tips for some of the best practices drivers can have when they’re hitting the road.
Jim Garrity, AAA Spokesperson, said one of the first things you should do is change how you drive.
“You do need to change your driving behaviors because it can really be a matter of life and death,” said Garrity. Garrity said one of the driving behaviors you need to change is your speed.
“There’s a big difference between trying to stop in those conditions going 10 miles an hour, 25 miles an hour, or 40 miles an hour,” said Garrity. “The faster you’re going, the more difficult it is to stop.”
There are different kinds of cars with different kinds of propulsion systems, like front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Garrity said the more wheels moving, the better.
“A vehicle that has four-wheel drive compared to two-wheel drive is gonna have better handling capabilities in things like snow and rainy roads, especially when you’re dealing with hills and things like that,” said Garrity.
But, four wheels moving doesn’t win every time.
“Particularly when you’re talking about ice. You could be driving the biggest vehicle in the world with the best four-wheel-drive system on the best tires…anytime you come across ice, no matter what you’re driving, that is going to be a dangerous position because ice affects vehicles of all sizes and shapes,” said Garrity. “You can’t stop on ice.”
If you do happen to get stuck, Garrity said he recommends keeping bottled water, blankets, and non-perishable food so you can wait until help arrives. And he recommends kitty litter for traction.
“People think cat litter is a joke, but no, it’s actually something good you want to have on you. Cat litter, sand,” said Garrity. “Even if you have a good pair of rubber mats in your vehicle, the idea is you want something to put under your vehicle if you’re on the side of the road and you need traction under those tires because you’re spinning them into the dirt.”
Garrity also said to make sure you have good tires with adequate pressure, a full tank of gas and winter windshield wiper blades.