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KU-EHS January Safety Tip: Winter Driving

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Winter driving

Even if you’re only going a short distance, driving on snowy and icy roads can be dangerous. Today we’re going to review some basics to ensure you arrive at your destination safely when road conditions are poor.

1. Why is it particularly important to make sure tires are properly inflated in cold temperatures? 

  • For each 10 degrees that the temperature drops, tire pressure goes down about one pound per square inch.
  • Under-inflated tires are a leading cause of tire failure.
  • The myth that reducing tire pressure increases traction is just that — a myth

2. True or False? Ice becomes more slippery as temperatures rise.

The answer is true.

  • At 30 degrees Fahrenheit, ice is twice as slippery as it is at zero. This means that your vehicle will slide twice as far when ice is at 30 degrees than when it is at zero.
  • Adding sandbags or other dead weight to the back of vehicles, including pickup trucks, increases traction only a slight amount.
  • The key to safety when driving on icy roads is to monitor your speed and go easy when applying brakes.
  • Whenever possible, avoid driving in icy conditions.

3. How should you handle a skid on icy o wet roads?

  • If you go into a skid, act quickly by taking your foot off the accelerator.
  • Keep your foot off the brake and steer in the direction the rear of the vehicle is skidding.
  • In other words, if you want your vehicle to go right, turn right. If you want it to go left, turn left.
  • Hold the steering wheel firmly, but don’t make large turns. Use a light touch to correct the swerve.

4. How should you adjust your following distance when road conditions are poor?

  • Increase your normal following distance on snow or ice by about three.
  • Instead of 3 or four seconds, make it nine or 10 seconds.

5. True or False? Do not exit your vehicle if it becomes snowbound.

The answer is true.

  • You are safer in your vehicle than on foot in adverse weather conditions.
  • Shine the dome light and only run the vehicle long enough to remove the chill.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or hang in a window to alert other vehicles that you need assistance.

Plan Ahead

If you must travel in poor weather conditions, make sure your cell phone is charged and carry some supplies such as a blanket, water and a snow shovel.

Report A Safety Concern

Report a concern to KU-EHS

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