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Local, state traffic safety experts encourage drivers to follow 10 winter driving road rules

As soon as the snow begins to fall, Carbon County drivers are faced with a new set of challenges on the road.

Snow and ice can be treacherous, but if motorists are prepared for the potential dangers, winter driving is much less scary.

Local, state and national traffic safety experts recommend that Carbon County residents follow the 10 road rules that apply in the wintertime.

Local motorists should:

•Take steps to make sure walkways and driveways are safe.

People should sprinkle salt, ice melting products or specially formulated sand to increase traction on all snow covered or frozen walkways and driving areas.

Consumers can find sand, salt and ice melting products at most home improvement stores.

•Add ballast to motor vehicles.

Bags of sand, salt and ice melting products add weight and ballast to vehicles to give better traction.

•Be prepared for an emergency situation.

Emergency situations can arise at any time, stressed the traffic safety experts

The supplies motorists should keep inside vehicles include a properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack, a shovel, jumper cables, tow and tire chains, two or more bags of winter traction products and a tool kit.

People should also carry an emergency survival kit. Recommended supplies include a working flashlight and extra batteries, flares, matches, a compass, extra windshield cleaner, an ice scraper and snow brush, blankets, a first aid kit and non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits and hard candy.

•Turn on the vehicle's headlights, even in the daytime to increase visibility to fellow motorists.

People should be sure to keep the vehicle's lights and windshield clean.

•Decrease driving speeds.

To drive safely on snowy and icy roads icy, motorists should decrease speed and leave plenty of room to stop.

People should allow at least three times more space than usual between their vehicles and the cars in front of them.

Drivers should brake gently to avoid skidding. If wheels start to lock up, people should ease off the brake.

•Watch for black ice and other frozen patches.

Motorists should be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first.

Even at temperatures higher than freezing, drivers might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges if conditions are wet.

•Shift into lower gears.

People should use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

Motorists should not use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.

•Drive vehicles defensively.

If the front wheels skid, motorists should take their feet off the gas and shift to neutral, but avoid trying to steer immediately.

As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return.

As traction returns, people should steer in the direction they want the vehicle to go, then return the transmission to drive or release the clutch and accelerate gently.

If the rear wheels skid, drivers should take their feet off the accelerator and steer in the direction the vehicles are sliding.

•Never spin a stuck vehicle's wheels.

Spinning the wheels will dig vehicles in deeper.

Stuck motorists should turn the wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.

If a light touch on the gas doesn't ease the vehicle out, use an emergency shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car. Motorists can then use the sand, salt or ice melting products to provide traction to get vehicles back onto the roadways.

•Stranded travelers should remain with vehicles.

To attract attention, people should light two flares and place one at each end of the car a safe distance away.

Stranded travelers should also hang a brightly colored cloth from the vehicle's antenna to signal for assistance in emergency situations.

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