(Media release from AAA, The Auto Club Group):

Sub-Freezing temperatures and the likelihood of precipitation may make for challenging driving conditions across north Georgia beginning Saturday evening. AAA – The Auto Club Group urges motorists to prepare their vehicles for an emergency and be cautious when driving in adverse weather conditions. According to data from the Federal Highway Administration, each year, nearly one in four (24%) of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement.

With this in mind, Georgia motorists are reminded that when it comes to driving in winter weather conditions, it’s important to revisit the safe winter driving playbook. Although this holds true for even the most seasoned driver, additional caution is urged for new and mature drivers when it comes to the hazards of snow and ice.

AAA recommends motorists stay off the roads. If driving cannot be avoided, reduce your speed, keep calm and do the following:

  • Check traffic and weather conditions through your local media outlets before heading out.
  • Have a full tank of gas.
  • Wear your seatbelt.
  • Tires should be inspected to ensure they are properly inflated and have sufficient tread depth.
  • Don’t use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.
  • Always travel with a cell phone, car charger, and your AAA Membership Card.
  • Equip your vehicle with a snow shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, flares, a flashlight, medicines, and some warm clothing and blankets.
  • Check washer fluid and anti-freeze, to ensure they are at adequate levels.
  • Stay safe while driving on Black Ice Drive slowly and smoothly. Avoid sudden hard acceleration, braking or steering. With antilock brakes, use steady pressure – don’t pump. Pumping disables the antilock brakes and make a skid more likely. Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections, even if the rest of the road seems to be in good condition.
  • If you get stuck in snow or ice, straighten the wheel and accelerate slowly. Add sand, traction mats or cat litter under the drive wheels to help avoid spinning the tires.
  • If your tires lose traction and you begin to skid, continue to look and steer in the direction you want to go. If the drive wheels start to spin or slide while going up a hill, ease off the accelerator slightly and then gently resume speed.
  • Roads closures also apply to our tow truck drivers as safety is the key for everyone.
  • If you find yourself in an unsafe situation, please contact law enforcement.
  • Stay with your vehicle if you get stranded. If the engine can be started, run it only long enough to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is snow-free.
  • Traffic Signal Blackout: If traffic signal lights are not working due to power failure, you must stop at the intersection and then proceed when you know other turning and approaching vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians have stopped. A blacked-out traffic signal works the same as a four-way stop intersection.