Given the winter weather we have all experienced in Atlanta this week, and could still experience – it’s only late January, I thought it prudent to share some of the Atlanta winter driving tips I’ve picked up from our local law enforcement troopers and officers. Even a safe driver can benefit from the advice of people in the position to deal with the best and worst of drivers.
Before setting out in your vehicle in wintry conditions, check the roads along your planned route. There are a number of phone apps that will allow you to do this, many of which are free. Also, you can access www.511ga.org, which is a good resource on any day to find traffic conditions in Atlanta. In addition to roadway conditions, it provides locations of construction and accidents and current traveling speeds.
Next, remove snow and ice from your vehicle. Frosted windows reduce your visibility. Chunks of snow and ice flying off your vehicle are potential hazards to the drivers around you.
Turn your headlights on – make certain you can see and be seen. Winter conditions require a different kind of driving than normal weather so BE ALERT and do not utilize your vehicle’s cruise control. When placing a child in a car seat, the added thickness of outerwear can interfere with proper harness fit so instead of overdoing outerwear, place blankets around your child after the harness is safely secured.
During your drive, SLOW DOWN. Driving at a lower speed will more likely allow you to maintain control of your vehicle. INCREASE YOUR FOLLOWING DISTANCE to at least three times the normal distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, allowing you plenty of room to stop. It takes a greater distance to stop on snow and ice. AVOID ABRUPT MANEUVERS to lessen the chance of losing control of your vehicle. Heavily traveled intersections can become “polished” and slick so make your turns gradually and slowly. When accelerating, accelerate slowly and when braking, brake gently. If you have anti-lock brakes (“ABS”) press the pedal firmly and hold it. If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, gently pump your brake pedal. If your vehicle starts to skid, COUNTER STEER by steering into the direction you want your vehicle to go – if the rear of your vehicle is sliding left, steer left into the skid. If it’s sliding right, steer right. Expect a second skid as your vehicle straightens out and be prepared to counter this action.
Slippery spots scattered on the surface of the roadway can cause a loss of steering control. Do not use your brake when you encounter an icy spot. Rather, take your foot off the accelerator and steer as straight as possible until the car slows to a safe speed. Brake as you approach a curve and not while you are in it. In an emergency, you can intentionally steer your vehicle into a snow bank to avoid a crash and keep you and your passengers safe. Being stuck in a snow bank is a better alternative than a collision causing injury and/or property damage.
Although we wish you safe travels as you commute our Georgia roadways, the personal injury attorneys at the Rice Firm are here for you in the event of an accident.