Tips for Driving in Hazardous Winter Weather

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Virginia State Police responded to nearly 700 car crashes on Wednesday. Nearly 300 of those accidents happened near Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro. VSP received nearly 2,000 phone calls about crashes and most of those crashes involved damaged cars, but few injuries.

Jerry Fawley at the Shenandoah Driving School had some tips to keep drivers safe in this weather.

"Keep all your windows, your mirrors, everything clean. Wipe them off. Take the time to wipe off all the ice and snow,” said Fawley, “Don't be driving through a little peep hole because you want to be able to see whats going on ahead of you."

He said if you don't have a scraper you can use a credit card to clear the windows.

"Don't forget to clean off your lights so people can see you."

Once you're out of the driveway and on the road, be as defensive as possible and leave as much room in front of you as you can.

"When you do your braking, always make sure your wheels are straight. Don't try to brake when you're in a turn."

If you do end up going too fast or if you do start to slide, Fawley said don't panic.

"The very first thing is to let off the accelerator, and lay off the brakes and let your car slow itself down."

He said to always turn the wheel in the direction you are sliding.

"If you're skidding to the right, then you'll want to, a lot of times your wheels are cut to the left and that's what causes you to go sideways. So you want to turn your wheels back to the right in the direction that you were going to regain control."

His most important recommendation is to stay off the roads on days like Wednesday all together and a tip for when you skid.

"If at all possible avoid hitting the brakes in a skid."

Virginia's Department of Transportation , VDOT, asked drivers to stay off the roads if that's possible. Leaders of the organization said that's the best way to avoid a car crash.

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