Icy conditions require caution

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   As colder weather approaches, it brings in icy road conditions that can be dangerous for drivers on the road. Road plows do a part in clearing the road of snow and salting to help remove the ice, but there is no guarantee that roads will be clear.

   Icy roads are the most common threat for drivers during poor weather, resulting in an annual 156,164 crashes according to carsurance.net. The first step to avoiding accidents on bad roads is to reduce speed and be considerate of your distance towards other vehicles. Most sources recommend a driver should not exceed 45 miles per hour when roads are icy. Another tip is to be gentle on brakes. Applying the brakes too hard commonly causes slides and results in a loss of steering capabilities. Should a vehicle start sliding or fishtailing, the best way to correct it is to turn slowly into the direction of the slide. Icy roads are a threat, and it is important for drivers to wear seatbelts and be wary of other accidents during treacherous weather. 

   Plows are a common sight during winter months, and it is important for drivers to respect the work they do along with their size. Road plows are large vehicles and should not be crowded by smaller cars. Drivers of plows have limited visibility, and other vehicles become more difficult to see when they begin removing snow from roadways. Plows may be spreading sand or de-icer and should have plenty of room behind them. They do not travel at highway speeds which may anger some drivers, but it can be difficult to judge where a plow is at, especially during a white out. While plows can be annoying and seem to create more problems than they solve, drivers should respect them and remember to be as patient as possible with them.

   Drivers should plan to pack warm clothes and blankets in the trunk along with other items such as a snow shovel and sand or kitty litter. Should a driver become stuck, they can use the shovel to dig themselves out and putting sand underneath the vehicle’s tires can help the wheels get traction. Road flares could also help if the vehicle becomes stuck. Placing flares in a bubble around the vehicle can help other drivers spot the stuck car and can serve as a signal for help should others be able to assist. 

   Icy roads are a common threat during the holidays and road trips with families, but driving a little bit safer and being prepared before an accident happens can make a large difference in the outcome of the winter months.