HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) - With winter weather on the way, AAA Tidewater is urging motorists to prepare and offering tips on traveling.
Drivers are asked to remember the following:
- Have a winter weather driving kit. Kits should include a blanket, ice scraper, flares/reflective triangles, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, bag of abrasive material such as cat litter, shovel, cloth or paper towels and a cell phone with a full charge.
Don't panic if you skid. Stay off the brakes and accelerator and don't shift gears. AAA says look and steer in the direction you want the car to go. Never accelerate during a spin.
- See and be seen. Make sure all windows and outside mirrors are clear and turn headlights on to a low beam even in daylight.
Slow down and leave plenty of room between your vehicle and others. Accelerate, brake or steer slowly, because jerky motions can increase the risk of skids.
- Don't pump the brakes in vehicles without antilock brakes. Keep steady pressure unless the wheels lock, then ease up just enough to regain traction. In vehicles with antilock brakes, press the pedal firmly and steadily, do not pump the brakes.
Drive in cleared lanes. AAA says changing lanes unnecessarily can put drivers at greater risk of hitting a patch of ice.
- Beware of bridges and overpasses, which freeze faster than other road surfaces. This includes the area below them.
- Don't use cruise control.
"When driving on snow covered or icy roads, motorists often make the mistake of being overconfident due to the fact that some roadways are clear," said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. "This leads to travel at higher than recommended speed when the same driver hits a patch of ice and the results can be devastating."
Before you head out to drive in the wintry conditions, crews are making sure the roads are safe for you.
The Virginia Department of Transportation says they have geared up snowplows and checked salt and sand supplies. VDOT also has anti-icing chemicals ready to put down on the roads if it's necessary. If we do get a large amount of snow, VDOT says they plan to have roads passable within 48 hours.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation said they have prepared coastal areas by equipping trucks with plows and spreaders. NCDOT coastal crews are on alert to treat bridges if they become slick.
Most Hampton Roads public works crew are keeping a close eye on the weather over the next 24 hours.
Virginia Beach Public Works says crews have sand and salt trucks ready. They also checked for frosty conditions overnight.
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