Tips for handling skids and other safety reminders from AAA Wisconsin
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MADISON – As much of Wisconsin prepares for a return to winter weather, AAA is issuing a reminder to motorists that snow and ice can create dangerous driving conditions that demand extra caution and modified driving behaviors.
According to a recent AAA Consumer PulseTM Survey, 82% of motorists in Wisconsin report being concerned about losing control of their vehicle in poor weather conditions. “Skids most often occur while braking or turning, so the best way to avoid them is to reduce your speed and increase your following distance,” said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA Wisconsin. “You should also avoid using cruise control in wet conditions, and remember that having four or all-wheel drive does not assist in braking.”
If you do find yourself losing traction, AAA advises you to follow these steps:
• Continue to look and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
• Avoid slamming on the brakes. Although this is a natural response, it will only further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to regain control. Instead, ease your foot off of the accelerator and gently brake if necessary.
• Once the wheels have regained traction, slowly resume acceleration and gently steer to avoid a counter-skid.
In addition to slowing down and increasing distance, AAA also offers the following tips for motorists to stay safe during winter weather:
• Take time to remove the snow from the entire car – not just the windshield and windows. Snow from your hood and roof can blow onto your windshield or the windshields of other drivers. Make sure your mirrors, lights and wipers are completely cleared as well.
• Ensure that you have an adequate supply of windshield washer fluid in your reservoir.
• Turn on your low-beam headlights, even during the day.
• Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections, even if the rest of the road seems to be in good condition.
• When changing lanes, avoid cutting in front of trucks, which need more time and distance than passenger vehicles to stop.
Additional winter weather driving tips are available in AAA’s How to Go on Ice and Snow booklet, which can be downloaded at: http://exchange.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/How-To-Go-On-Ice-and-Snow.pdf.
AAA also advises motorists to prepare an emergency kit for their vehicle, which should include the following: Cell phone and charger, jumper cables, warm gear for all potential passengers (boots, hats, gloves), blankets, flares, flashlight and extra batteries, extra food and water for all potential passengers, general first aid kit, non-clumping kitty litter, ice scraper, snow brush and shovel, and extra windshield washer fluid.