Police remind drivers to drive safe during snowy weather - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Police remind drivers to drive safe during snowy weather

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As we head closer to winter, the sight of snow will become common across the roads.

New driver Brittany Proffitt says, "It's been a while since it's snowed so people are going to be rusty."

Proffitt is learning how to drive in winter weather and knows what lies ahead.

Proffitt says, "I've seen a lot of wrecks after moving here involving ice and skids. So I'm really worried about getting into one of those skids."

Those wrecks tend to happen right around the first good snowfall of the season.

Bill Wagner is a driving instructor for Frick's Driving school in Mishawaka. He says people need to respect Mother Nature.

He says people are sometimes caught off-guard by conditions and forget to do one simple thing.

Wagner says, "The biggest thing is following distance. Increase your following distance so you have more room to stop."

Wagner says the best thing to do is add one second of distance for each condition. That could mean up to seven seconds.

Wagner says, "Some people are going to say that's way too long, well hit your break and slide and tell me it's too long."

Time is probably the most important aspect of driving in the winter but there is also the road conditions. The Indiana State Police advise drivers to know the weather forecast before heading out.

Sgt. Trent Smith says, "The road may just look like it's wet then when you hit an overpass you begin to slide and tend to lose control of your car."

They also say you need to avoid quick stops.

Smith says, "You come up to that stop sign and you slide a little bit more, hopefully people got the message to adjust driving behaviors."

Wagner says, "You think you can stop on a dime. In the winter time it may take two dimes."

Be prepared:

  • Before traveling, check the forecast and let someone know your travel route.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half-full.
  • Carry a winter driving kit that should include blankets, flashlight, extra batteries, a brightly colored cloth, sand (or cat litter), shovel, candle, matches, non-perishable high calorie food, first aid kit, and jumper cables.
  • Slow down on snow/ice covered roads.
  • Allow extra time to arrive at your destination.
  • Clear all windows of ice and snow and remove snow from hood, roof, and lights.
  • Use extra caution when driving across bridges, underpasses, shaded areas and intersections where ice is slow to melt.
  • Avoid abrupt stops and starts. Slow down gradually.
  • Use low beam headlights to decrease glare from ice.

Should you become stranded:

  • Don't leave your car. It's the best protection you have.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth to your antenna.
  • Roll down your window a small amount.
  • Keep the exhaust pipe free of blockage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Don't panic. An idling car uses approximately one gallon of gas per hour.
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