Atlanta winters here are typically mild. But old man winter likes to pay us a visits every once in awhile. When we get that unusual ice and snow storm in Atlanta most of the major highways are kept open by the DOT pre-treating surfaces and using snow plows. But the side roads can stay dangerous for days. While it would be nice to stay at home until all the snow and ice are gone, that is not very practical.
Tips for Driving in Ice and Snow in Atlanta
As winter approaches, always keep your vehicle in the best possible driving condition for the season. Lights, tires, brakes, wipers, the defroster and radiator are very important for winter driving.
Always check your tires for adequate tread if you decide to drive in snow and ice. Poor treads will not be able to grip when driving in these conditions.
Here are several helpful tips to help you maneuver driving on ice and snow:
- Make sure your tires are fully inflated before you leave home. This will help your tires performance on ice and snow. Your tires pressure should be lower during the winter. Check your owner’s manual.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freezes.
- Never warm your car in a garage. Fumes from the exhaust will fill the air quickly. Also, check your exhaust pipe for clogs of snow and ice. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly.
- Clear car windows, mirrors and the top of your car of snow and ice. If you have to suddenly hit your brakes the snow pack will fall on your windshield and mirrors, obstructing your view.
- Do not pour hot or boiling water onto your windshield. You will run the risk of cracking it. Use lukewarm water only to help melt the snow and ice.
- Remove snow and ice from your front and back of your car lights. This will make your vehicle more visible to other drivers on the road.
- If you will be traveling on roads that are shaded by large trees, be on the lookout for black ice. This can be very difficult to drive on. Consider changing your route to make your drive easier.
- Avoid using your car’s parking brake and cruise control while driving in snow and ice.
- Drive slowly. Your speed should match the road conditions. Your travel time will take longer on ice and snow, so plan ahead.
- Switch to a lower gear when driving to help your car maintain a slower speed.
- Look and steer in the direction you want your car to travel.
- If you skid, steer into it. For example: if you car is sliding to the right, steer the car to the right.
- Apply the gas slowly. This is the best way to gain traction on snow and ice.
- Avoid stopping. Try to slow your speed down to a slow roll. The more stops you have to make the more difficult it will be to get traction.
- When you have to stop, apply firm and steady pressure to your brakes. Do not slam on your brakes. Instead try pumping your brakes.
- Do not barrel up hills. Let momentum help carry you up difficult hills. If you use too much power your tires will just start spinning.
- If you hit an icy spot and start to slide do not continue to steer your wheels. Excessive steering will not help you regain control.
- Most importantly, if you do not have to get out, stay at home. Wait until road conditions improve and head out tomorrow. Snow days can be fun!
Pack A Survival Kit
If you must head out, always pack a survival kit in case you get stranded. Your kit should include:
- Sand, salt, kitty litter or tire chains to help your tires get traction on the roads.
- Snow shovel. They make ones that fold up and will not take up much space in your car.
- Flashlight with extra batteries.
- Window washer fluid
- Ice scrapper
- Roll of paper towel or cloths
- Jumper cables
- Extra clothing and blankets to stay warm with
- Water & snacks
- Tool Kit
- Cell phone and charger
If you do venture out and become stranded, do not leave your car. Call 911 for immediate assistance. Stay in your car and wrap up blankets and clothing to stay warm until help arrives. Run the heater in car intermittingly to help you stay warm.