Safe Driving in a Whiteout Snow Storm

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DESCRIPTION | Safety should not be taken lightly when facing winter conditions, and precautions should be taken prior to the start of the winter season. Some dangers are visible, such as sleet, snow, and blizzard conditions, while other dangers are not, such as black ice or freeze back. Remain accountable for your driving behavior by driving slowly or pulling over at the first possible opportunity to avoid dangerous conditions.


  • 1. Winter storms bring about driving conditionsthat are important to be aware of and takeseriously. It is important to watch or read thenews to make sure youre prepared for theweather that lies ahead. The preparationsrequired to remain safe start well before theseason begins and even extend into howwell you know your own car.

2. There are many precautions and preparations you cantake before the winter season to ensure youre ready forthe months ahead: Check for a strong battery because freezingconditions weaken the battery by 35%. Check for weather appropriate, non-worn tires. Check windshield wipers, washer fluid, antifreeze, anddefrosters. 3. Ultimately, make sure you really know yourvehicle inside and out so you know howto respond to road conditions. A commonexample involves understanding yourbrake system. Drivers with antilockbraking systems should not pump thebrake when stopping, whereas thosewithout an antilock system should gentlypump breaks to avoid a wheel lock up. 4. Wind is an incredible threat during awinter storm. Wind-driven snow causeswhiteout conditions that can reducevisibility so drastically that you arentable to see motorists directly in front ofyou. When driving in whiteout conditions,you should slow down to a considerablyslow speed or pull over until conditionsimprove or the storm ends. 5. In addition to whiteout conditions, wind-drivensnow can cause snowdrifts. Depending on thesize, a snowdrift can close roads. If driving at anormal speed and you plow through asnowdrift, it is possible to lose control of yourvehicle. Slowing down significantly reducesthe risk of losing control. 6. The most dangerous of the winter storms is ablizzard. The elements involved can createnear zero visibility, deep drifts, and severewind chill factors. In blizzard conditions, youshould not travel. If youre already out whena blizzard hits, you should pull over to a safearea and seek shelter immediately. 7. Black IceWhen the temperature is just abovefreezing, a thin layer of ice that maynot be visible can cover the road,making it extremely slippery. Youknow black ice is potentially presentwhen ice forms on your windshield ormirrors, or when the wet mist thatwould normally kick up under othercars while driving disappears.Stopping distances can more thandouble on ice so its important todrive carefully.Freeze BackWhen warmer temperatures melt theice that covers the roads and theresidual water runs across roadways,cooler temperatures at night and inthe morning can freeze the wateragain. This frozen layer of ice isextremely slippery and can causesliding or loss of control. 8. An often forgotten safety precaution is makingsure you are on the lookout for deer and otheranimals that may be crossing the road. In awhiteout storm, visibility is severely limited, makingit all the more likely you wont see the deer. Its anatural human reaction to try to swerve in orderto avoid a collision, but this is actually one of themost dangerous things that you can do. Since youwill already be driving slowly in the stormconditions, it is best to slow even further, honk thehorn, and duck low behind the dashboard.Ultimately, you should hit the deer at this slowerspeed rather than swerving. 9. NTSI is a recognized leader in traffic safetyeducation with an innovative approach todriving safety. NTSI stresses personalaccountability with an interactive curriculumbased upon behavioral modification principles.NTSI believes drivers understand theimportance of following safety standards andstresses personal choice as a means ofeffecting a positive change in driving behavior.Website: