The Virginia Department of Transportation encourages motorists to prepare for winter road travel. Snowy, icy and plain old wet weather increases the risk for serious auto accident injuries.
Review these tips from the agency to drive safely as temperatures drop this season.
Check road conditions
The DOT recommends staying off the road when it snows. Drivers should check the weather forecast before heading out on the highway. Motorists can access road conditions day or night by dialing 511 or visiting 511virginia.org online.
Prepare the vehicle
Before winter travel, motorists should make sure their cars are in peak condition. They should check the oil, heater, defroster, exhaust, lights, fluid, thermostat, antifreeze, ignition system, battery, tires and brakes. The trunk of the vehicle should contain a few quarts of water, an extra set of clothes, a flashlight, kitty litter for tread, and energy bars or other nonperishable foods.
Drive with care
When the roads get slippery, drivers should slow down to increase traction and decrease the risk of losing control of the vehicle. They should also avoid slamming on the brakes or quickly accelerating. It is best to use firm, slow, steady pressure.
Drivers should double the usual safe following distance from other vehicles. This gives other cars plenty of space to stop if necessary.
Motorists who do not need to stop should avoid doing so. The car is more likely to skid when accelerating to get back up to speed or coming to a complete stop.
Following these three cold-weather driving tips can decrease the chance of involvement in a dangerous auto accident.