State Trooper Offers Winter Driving Tips

Ice and snow, take it slow. Trooper Brian Harshman with the Indiana State Police says it’s important to adjust your driving for the weather conditions. This includes slowing down and leaving plenty of space between vehicles.

“Action is always faster than reaction. On a perfectly sunny day at 60 miles-per-hour the normal person doesn’t realize how far it takes to stop a car on a sunny day on dry pavement. A lot of times you see them following at even a closer distance when the weather’s bad. A lot of times they don’t realize the distance it takes, especially on a slick roadway, to stop,” Harsman said.

Harshman says having four-wheel drive gives many motorists a false sense of security when it comes to winter driving. He says it’s advantageous when it comes to starting but won’t do anything to keep you from sliding off a slick surface.

“Those four-wheel drives will get you through that deep snow, and get you through some ruts and things like that. They’re great to utilize, but when it comes to stopping and it comes to ice, four-wheel drive isn’t much more of an affect than two-wheel drive,” Harshman said.

Whether you’re just making a short jaunt or hitting the road for an extended trip, Harshman says you should always have your cell phone along in case you experience problems.

“You need to go out with a full tank for several reasons. First so you don’t break down, but the automobiles run better and your lines have less chance of freezing and things like that if you’ve got gas in the tank and you’re not just sitting there on empty,” said Harshman.

Harshman says you should also put some blankets, food, water, boots and dry clothes in the car, just in case. It’s also a good idea to pack jumper cables, an emergency flare and a red flag that can be used to signal for help if your car breaks down.