POSTED: Monday, December 5, 2011 - 2:54pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 7:52am
LAS CRUCES- When it comes to driving, we all like to believe we've got things under control. But, here are a few tips to review to brush up on your winter driving skills.
With the potential for snow-covered and icy roadways in southern New Mexico, it is important that motorists prepare for dangerous driving conditions.
The Las Cruces Police Department is offering these tips that can help improve safety during snow and wet weather conditions:
• Clear windshield and all windows of snow, ice and debris before driving.
• Slow down. Allow for more travel time when driving in wet weather.
• Allow for greater distance between vehicles. Normal driving conditions recommend travelling at least two seconds behind vehicles. During wet weather, or icy road conditions, it is recommended to increase that distance.
• When coming to a stop, begin slowing down sooner and apply gentle brake pressure. Avoid slamming on brakes, and making sudden turns or lane changes.
• Give larger vehicles, like trucks and buses, more room for stops and turns.
• If possible, drive around sitting water and accumulated snow. Puddles may be deeper than they appear and snow may be hiding patches of ice – or what’s called “black ice” – that can increase driving hazards.
• Never attempt to drive through flooded arroyos or running water. Even when driving a large vehicle, like a truck or SUV, fast-moving water can easily overcome it.
• Drive with headlights on and be alert to surrounding traffic and changing weather.
• If rain or snow is too heavy, or roadways are flooded or not visible, pull over to a safe distance from the street until conditions improve. If roads are icy, avoid driving them if at all possible.
• Keep your vehicle well-maintained. Periodically check that brakes, tires and windshield wipers are in good working condition.
Besides driving defensively and following basic safety tips, it’s also important to dress appropriately and in preparation for potential weather changes. Drivers may want to consider keeping an extra jacket or blanket in their vehicle even if current weather conditions don’t appear those items are needed.