Snowstorm? Pandemic? Top advice is the same, AAA of Central Pa. says

Winter Alert

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — “If you must travel…

Sound familiar? AAA, advising would-be drivers about how to stay safe during a snowstorm, says that’s no coincidence.

The best thing to do to prevent getting stuck in the snow or having a crash is to make sure you’re staying home,” said Doni Lee Spiegel, public relations manager for AAA Central Penn. “And of course that ties in nicely with the CDC’s recommendation to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID.”

Spiegel said she herself rescheduled an orthodontist appointment for her daughter, which was originally set for Wednesday.

Still, just as public health officials advise against traveling but provide guidance for people who must travel during a pandemic, AAA does the same for people who must venture out during a snowstorm.

Spiegel’s top tips? Go out with at least a half tank of gas and anything you might need if you get stuck somewhere for hours — think warm clothes and medication, for example. Additionally, regarding driving in the snow, AAA says:

  • Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

For more information about AAA travel tips, visit AAA Central Penn’s website.

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