17:00 PM

AAA: Wintry Conditions Call for Driver Preparation and Caution

MADISON, Wisc. (December 10, 2020) – As much of Wisconsin prepares for significant snowfall this weekend, AAA reminds motorists that snow and ice can create extremely dangerous driving conditions that demand extra caution. Motorists should do the following to stay safe:

  • Before starting out in snowy 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.
  • Always drive at a speed that is appropriate for conditions – even if that means driving below the posted speed limit.
  • Compensate for reduced traction by increasing your following distances (normally three to four seconds) to eight to ten seconds.
  • Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections, even if the rest of the road seems to be in good condition.
  • Familiarize yourself with your vehicle's braking system. Drivers with anti-lock brake should apply firm, constant pressure while those without may need to pump the pedal in order to avoid loss of traction while stopping.
  • Remember that 4WD or AWD helps you to get going quicker and maintain control around curves, but it won't help you stop any faster.
  • When changing lanes, avoid cutting in front of trucks, which need more time and distance than passenger vehicles to stop.
  • Don't use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.
  • Always look and steer in the direction you want to go.
  • When you see flashers, move over a lane if possible and slow down as you're passing emergency vehicles. This law applies to any vehicle – including tow trucks – that displays flashing lights and is stationary on the side of the road.

During severe winter weather AAA receives a high number of road service calls, and members should be aware that priority service will be given to those who are stranded or in a dangerous situation, and that the most efficient way to request Roadside Assistance is through the AAA Mobile app on your smartphone. AAA recommends that if you become stranded, it is best to stay with the vehicle with your seatbelt on. If you can start your engine, run it only long enough to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow.

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.