D&D listeners’ Top 10 Winter Driving Tips
At the time I'm writing this New Jersey is anticipating 3 to 4 inches of snow on average, with 6 in the south. This will be the first serious accumulating snow of the season. It's been awhile since we had to drive in this, and the first time out is never any fun.
So we asked our listeners to brainstorm and call in with advice for drivers taking on winter weather. Here's what they came up with.
1) Headlights on
KC from Toms River called in with this seemingly simple concept but you'd be amazed how many people forget to do it. Yes we have a wipers on lights on law in Jersey, but honestly even once the snow is done falling it's still a good idea to keep those lights on on slippery roads to make you more visible to other cars.
2) Clean your roof
Speaking of laws, George from Old Bridge reminded us of this New Jersey law that requires drivers to clear all snow off the tops of their cars before driving. That means ALL the snow. Don't leave what I call a snowhawk down the center of your roof. It can fly off and blind other drivers.
3) Kitty litter
Will from Wrightstown called in a cool tip. Put a bag of kitty litter in your car, even if you don't own a cat. Buy one anyway and just leave it in the trunk. If you ever find your wheels spinning on snow and ice and can't get any traction you'll be glad you did. Spread it by your tires to get the grip you need to get out of a slippery spot.
4) Leave room
This tip offered by Rich in Mahwah may be the most important on the list. Leave...enough...room! Tailgating on dry pavement is ignorant enough, but getting frustrated that the person in the lightweight car in front of you is driving like a "nervous old lady" and tailgating them is just a disaster waiting to happen. Leave space, plenty of it, always. You'll get there.
5) Washer fluid
Jim from Howell called to remind drivers to check in advance of the snow that your car's windshield washer fluid reservoir is completely full. There's nothing worse than realizing this in the middle of a storm when it's too late.
6) Don't lose momentum
It was Bill in Somerville who begged people when driving uphill on a snow covered road don't keep hitting your brakes. You are only going to lose momentum and the people traveling behind you are possibly driving a car that already doesn't have the traction yours does.
7) Cheap sunglasses
Cue the ZZ Top music for this suggestion that came from Matt in Neptune. He says when the snow is all over and that brilliant sunshine comes out it can be a blinding experience. He's right. Matt's suggestion? A pair of cheap polarized sunglasses kept in your car so you don't go snowblind.
8) Lay off the brakes
Bob on the Parkway reminded drivers when they start to slide on a snowy road hitting the brakes is usually only going to make it worse. Easy on the brakes folks.
9) Your 4x4 is not invulnerable
Jeff in Princeton Junction says he's seen it far too often; an all wheel drive vehicle flying down the road in the snow driven by someone who doesn't understand it has its limits. It's easy not to get stuck, easy to get out of deep snow with a 4x4, but it doesn't mean you can't slide off the road like everyone else.
10) Stay home
When the roads get really bad, Julie from Toms River wants you to know going to the bar to meet your friends or going to a restaurant for appetizers is not what they mean by essential travel. If you're not on your way to the hospital, if you're not required to get to work, stay off the roads. It's better for you and it's better for the road crews to clear the roads faster.
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