With the threat of ice and snow once again in the forecast for parts of South Dakota, AAA reminds motorists that driving during wintry conditions can be treacherous. Take it easy on slick roadways, allow extra time to get where you're going and drive slowly.
Dress in layers. Heavy coats and gloves offer warmth outside but after the vehicle warms up, they should be taken off to allow you full head and arm movement.
Before driving, remove any snow or ice on your vehicle's windows, lights, brake lights and signals.
South Dakotans often have to drive on ice and snow during the winter season. Here are some good reminders from AAA:
- Drive well below the posted speed limit and leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you.
- Watch for black ice. Roads that seem dry may actually be slippery and dangerous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are hot spots for that hard-to-detect black ice.
- Be aware of what's going on well ahead of you. The way other vehicles are behaving will alert you to problems more quickly and give you a split-second of added time to react safely.
- The faster you're going, the longer it will take to stop. When accelerating on snow or ice, do so slowly to avoid slipping and sliding.
- Brake early, brake slowly and never slam on the brakes. With anti-lock brakes (ABS), press the pedal down firmly and hold it. If you don't have ABS, gently pump the pedal. Either way, leave yourself lots of room to stop.
- Don't use cruise control when driving on ice and snow, and avoid sudden steering maneuvers.
- Give snowplows and sand trucks a wide berth – stay well behind these vehicles and don't attempt to pass them.
Make sure your vehicle is road-worthy. Check the battery, tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts and hoses.
Carry a winter emergency road kit: ice scraper, snow brush, cell phone with charger cord, booster cables, flashlight with extra batteries, warm clothing and blankets, a first aid kit, paper towels, candy bars, simple tools (screwdrivers, pliers and the like), reflective triangles and clay-based kitty litter or sand to throw in front of the power wheels if you're stuck on an icy incline and can't get traction.
A not-for-profit organization, AAA South Dakota serves its 91,000 members across South Dakota with emergency help on the road, auto travel assistance and a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through its 10 retail branches, and the Internet at www.AAA.com.