Snow and Ice Bring Challenging Roadways to Oklahomans

1. You’re driving and hit a patch of ice. What do you do?

Try not to panic and avoid slamming on the brakes because that could cause even more skidding and loss of control. Instead, slowly take your foot off the accelerator, and let the car slow down on its own. If you start skidding, there are two things you can do: Steer in the direction you want to go and look in the direction you want to go. Your hands tend to follow your eyes, so if you focus on where you want to go, then you’re more likely to veer in that direction.

2. You’re heading toward an icy intersection where cars are stopped.

It takes 50 percent more distance to stop on a slippery road than it does on a dry one. Intersections are sometimes the most slippery places on roads, because there is usually a coating of ice topped with a pool of water from melting snow from idling cars. When inclement weather hits, it’s suggested that you slow down to 20 miles per hour in town, and sometimes 40 mph on the highway.

3. A stop sign or traffic light sits at the bottom of a steep hill that hasn’t been sanded.

Waiting until the last minute to apply the brakes is more likely to cause the wheels to lock and skid. Give yourself plenty of time. If your car has antilock brakes, you will feel them automatically lock and release again. With , the worst thing you can do is pump the brakes by slamming them on several times in a row. This will confuse the system that makes them work properly. But if your car does not have antilock brakes, then you should step on them repeatedly.

4. A snowstorm hits when you’re on the highway and your washer fluid is empty.

You must get off at the nearest exit, or if you have to, pull over to the side of the road when it is safe to do so. You should always keep an extra gallon of washer fluid in your trunk, but if none is available in an emergency, then a quick fix is to collect some clean snow from the side of the road and rub it on the windshield to wash away the dirt. At the next exit, head to the nearest store to buy washer fluid.

5. As you’re driving, your windshield wipers build up with ice and snow and aren’t functioning.

If you can’t see, pull over when it is safe to do so, then knock all of the ice and snow off with your hand or a snow brush. Turn your heating system up to the maximum temperature and fan settings, and this may prevent it from happening again. The exposed frames of regular blades are meant for rain, not snow, so you should think about getting a set of winter blades that are covered with a Teflon or rubber coating.

6. Remember, your vehicle’s traction is greatest just before your wheels start to spin.

Extra weight in the trunk or pickup bed of a rear-wheel-drive vehicle can help gain traction.

Updated 02-03-2011

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