As a Christmas Day snow storm barrels toward Oklahoma, AAA is advising drivers to prepare themselves – and their vehicle – for the freezing weather and dangerous road conditions.
News 9 Weather Page
"Even a dusting of snow can make roads slick, and cause problems for those traveling," said Danial Karnes, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. "Now is the time to prepare your vehicle and at the same time, prepare your mind to be ready to drive at speeds that match prevailing visibility, traffic and road conditions."
12/24/2012 Related Story: OKC Street Crews Ready For Winter Storm
AAA says every driver should have an emergency road kit, and it should contain the following items:
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Drinking water, food, snacks
- Small shovel
- Sand or clay-based kitty litter for traction
- Ice scraper/brush
- Battery booster cables
- Emergency flares/reflectors
- Extra clothes, gloves, etc.
- Cell phone with charger
The News 9 Weather Team advises everyone to stay off the roads during the storm, but if you must drive, AAA recommends taking these steps:
- Prepare your vehicle for cold weather. Check battery, ignition system, lights, brakes, tires, the exhaust system and windshield wipers.
- Slow down. When the roads are icy, allow extra time to reach your destination. Rushing creates risk.
- Use major routes. After it snows, major roads are cleared and treated first. Avoid secondary roads.
- Dress as if you were going to be stranded. It can get very cold in a car on the side of the road waiting for help. Be sure to have extra blankets and insist that children who may be traveling with you have some, too.
- Use low gear to get out of tough spots. You need steady pulling and moderate power when traction is poor. The best remedy when wheels are stuck is to put the car in low gear and apply power slowly. Keep the wheels pointed straight ahead so the vehicle can move in a straight line. If you can't go forward, try backing out while steering in the vehicle's tracks. Traction is greatest just before wheels start to spin.
If drivers find themselves in trouble, they should avoid these actions:
- Avoid slamming on brakes. Minimize brake use on very slippery, icy roads and hills; if further speed reduction is needed use a gentle and slow brake application.
- Avoid changing lanes. On a four-lane highway, stay in the lane that has been cleared most recently. Changing lanes over built-up snow between lanes may cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
- Never use cruise control. When driving on any slippery wet, icy surface cruise control prevents you from having total control over your vehicle.
- With ABS brakes, don't pump the brake pedal. Apply steady, firm pressure.
- Do not drive in four-wheel-drive. It will get you going faster and easier but it does not provide an advantage in stopping.
- Do not panic. If your vehicle skids out of control, steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.