Driving in a winter wonderland...

Driving in a winter wonderland...


"When will this winter END??" – said by many across the Mid-South lately.

Indeed, it seems as though this winter is dragging on and on and on… we have had three separate ice/snow events in the last week, and although the precipitation seems to be letting up (for now, anyway) after Monday, the cold stays.

More so than snow, the ice, sleet and freezing rain affects this area of the country particularly hard. That warm layer of air that frequently parks on top of the cold many times ensures an icy commute for Mid-South drivers. Sometimes we all can stay home. But other times, navigating on those slippery streets is inevitable. So, what can we do to avoid the worst if we have to drive?

Well, for one -- and you no doubt hear this a lot from us -- slow down. On side streets and small roads, 20-30 mph or less might be the way to go when ice accumulates. On the highway? 45 mph or less. Remember, "black ice" can't be seen very well, and could cause you to lose control.

Second, go easy on the brakes. I know our first instinct is to floor the brakes when we start to slip and slide, but that could prove to be the worst thing you do. In fact, ABS brakes tend to lock up easily on ice and snow. For better control, turn your wheels in the direction that the rear of your car is sliding. Do it gently, and if you overcorrect, reverse the steering until you gain more control. Doing this will allow you to have more of a control on where your car ends up. It may be inevitable that you hit something, but having control instead of spinning out of it can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

Third: this should be a no-brainer. Wear your seat belt at all times. It's tragic to hear stories of people who get seriously injured or die in winter weather auto-accidents. It's even more tragic to know some of them could be prevented by simply buckling up.

Finally, I know it's noble to be a good Samaritan, but if the roads are icy, don't stop to help stranded vehicles on the sides of highways. Yes, call the police or fire officials. Yes, if you can, take the next exit and alert someone once you park somewhere safe. But clogging up the side of a highway can cause vehicles behind you to lose control. Plus, you're putting yourself in danger of being hit.

As always, continue to pay attention to the weather and traffic reports when you do have to venture out this winter. We'll do our best from our end to keep you safe!

Andrew Kozak

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