Commonwealth Journal

Local News

November 13, 2012

Icy roads only a few degrees away

(Continued)

Somerset —

“When the snow comes overnight, there are not as many people on the road, or they may limit their activities so they don’t have to drive,” he added.
Smith said that as drivers ready themselves for winter weather, the important rule to remember is — change your mindset along with the calendar.
“Probably the biggest issue we have with accidents is with people trying to drive like they normally do in good weather, (but) when the weather is not so normal,” he said. “Whether is be a foggy morning or a rainy day or snow and the potential of ice, the biggest thing is to allow for extra time either to get to work or drop the kids off at school, or whatever the day entails.
“If they allowed just a little extra time to drive more cautiously during the inclement weather, that would decrease their chances of having an accident while they’re driving,” he said. “You just can’t treat abnormal driving conditions with normal routines. It’s just not going to work.”
The problem of “black ice” arises whenever there’s visible moisture and the temperatures dip below the freezing mark.
“It could be an area of the roadway that doesn’t drain well that causes just a little bit of pooling water to freeze,” said Smith. “When it’s snow, it’s easy to see. We recognize those patches of snow and ice on the road. When it’s clear water that has frozen on a dark road, it’s sometimes impossible to see.”
Smith noted that it only takes about three-sixteenths of an inch of water to cause a vehicle to hydroplane, and is “sure it’s even less when it comes to ice.”
In other words, take your time and drive accordingly. Once again, don’t push it the way you would when the weather is nice.

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