Driving safety tips for winter weather

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hull
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

As the snow begins to fall around the Pacific Northwest, planning ahead and applying defensive driving techniques will help drivers reach their destinations safely.

“Take your time getting where you need to go,” said Master Sgt. Regina D. Rector, occupational safety manager for 446th Airlift Wing. “Plan ahead and pay attention to the weather forecast so you know the road conditions in advance.”

In addition to driving safely, know your vehicle’s safety features and limitations.

“It’s important to keep your vehicle in good working order,” said Rector. “Ensure your windshield wipers are good and make sure all your lights are working. It’s also important to know whether your vehicle has things such as anti-lock braking and traction control.”

Paying attention and avoiding distractions is also key, Rector added.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety website, 80 percent of drivers reported that distractions are a serious problem. Latest research indicates that distraction latency lasts an average of 27 seconds. So even after drivers put down their cell phone or stop using other electronic devices, drivers are not fully engaged with the task of driving for almost half a minute.

In addition, the Washington State Department of Transportation provided the following safe driving precautions during winter weather:

-Drive at slower speeds and use slower acceleration.

-Check to see if the vehicle has traction tires.

-Know what traction advisories mean.

-Know how to install tire chains.

-Don’t use cruise control.

-Remember that four-wheel and all-wheel vehicles don’t stop or steer better on ice.

-Leave extra room between vehicles.

-Remember larger vehicles require more room to stop.

-Slow down at intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas.

-Slow down and be extra cautious near chain-up and removal areas.

“Know your local area,” said Rector. “Take your time and don’t become complacent.”

For the most updated Joint Base Lewis-McChord weather information, members can call the Joint Base Ops Center Recording (253) 967-1733.

Information from the Washington Department of Transportation contributed to this article.