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Opinion

December 24, 2012

Slow down and be safe

It was a day to remember. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning Dec. 15, 2007, predicting 6 to 10 inches of snow for Howard County and surrounding areas.

Troopers of the Indiana State Police Peru Post asked motorists to be careful – even if operating a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Such trucks “may keep you from being stuck in deep snow or aid in acceleration during slippery road conditions, but it will not allow you to stop any quicker,” State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum said. “Slow down and allow yourself plenty of stopping distance.”

Considering the weather service forecasts between 5 and 9 inches to fall in the Kokomo area between 10 p.m. tonight and Wednesday evening, it’s a good time to review winter driving safety:

AAA Motor Club offers this refresher on driving in snow and ice:

• Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads.

• The normal dry-pavement following distance of two to three seconds should be increased to eight to 10 seconds. This increased margin of safety in front will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

• Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold braking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

• Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop vs. how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until the stoplight changes, do it.

• Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.

• Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

• Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can.

If you have to be out in inclement weather, slow down and be safe.

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