Many New Jersey motorist heeded safety warnings on Tuesday and stayed off the roads during the brunt of the storm, but as conditions improve AAA warns motorists to remain cautious.
“Once the snow stops drivers get anxious to return to the roads, once that happens AAA is expecting to see an increase in roadside rescues after a fairly quiet day,” says Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “If you choose to be out, drive with caution and give road crews plenty of room to do their job safely, as roadways will remain slick and slippery due to sub-freezing temperatures through at least Thursday.”
Dangerous winter storms and bad weather are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than two thousand road deaths every winter, according to the latest research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
“For everyone’s safety on the roads, drivers should allow plenty of extra time to properly clean off their vehicle before getting behind the wheel,” added Noble. “According to the Administrative Office of the Courts, between January and February of 2017, municipal police departments in New Jersey handed out 867 tickets to motorists who failed to remove ice and snow from their vehicles before driving.”
To aide motorists that choose to venture out AAA will have its full fleet of roadside rescue vehicles ready, a stockpile of batteries, its call centers staffed and emergency responders ready to go but the hope is that drivers will do all they can to avoid getting stuck out in the cold.
Brush up on your winter driving skills:
- Wait for the roads to be plowed and treated before venturing out – road surface condition is the single most important safety factor during a winter weather event.
- Thoroughly clean off your car – remove ALL snow and ice before driving anywhere. In New Jersey it’s the law.
- Warm the car up OUTSIDE the garage
- Drive SLOWLY
- Increase following distances
- Steer clear of snow plows and salt trucks – stay at least six car lengths behind these vehicles
- Accelerate and brake slowly – it takes longer to slow down on snowy, icy roads.
- Do not use cruise control and avoid tailgating – normal following distances of three to four seconds for dry pavement should be increased to eight to 10 seconds when driving on icy, slippery surfaces.
- Regardless of whether the vehicle has front-, rear- or four-wheel drive, the best way to regain control if the front wheels skid is:
- Continue to look where you want to go.
- Steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
- Avoid slamming on the brakes. Although hitting the brakes is a typical response, slamming the brakes will only further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to regain control.
- Wait for the front wheels to grip the road again. As soon as traction returns, the vehicle will start to steer again.
- When the front wheels have regained their grip, steer the wheels gently in the desired direction of travel.
- Use the “plant and steer” method with antilock brake systems. Do not remove your foot from the brake or pump the pedal. If you apply pressure and the wheels lock momentarily, you might feel the brake pedal pulse back against your foot. This is normal. Just hold the brake pedal down and steer. Pumping the pedal actually works against the system.
- Brush up on your driving skills with this AAA YouTube video: How to Drive in the Snow