Meteorologists have given advice that the “Polar Vortex” phenomenon has already affected the northeastern sections of the U.S. by way of major snowstorms. Any travel plans for the coming days ahead should be approached with extra caution, by checking out travel alerts issued by travel advisory boards before proceeding to a planned destination.
As many as 64 airports have already released travel advisories as weather forecasts expect that about 60% of the country or roughly as many as 36 states could be affected by heavy snowfall. The bizarre weather has been bringing in frigid air that already broke existing record-low temperatures in the south, particularly in Texas.
While some portions of North American are currently experiencing only overcast skies and rainy weather, it doesn’t mean that travel by land will be much safer. The number of traffic and highway accidents that have occurred across the U.S. in the past weeks, has been abnormally high and mostly fatal. The massive Fort Worth pileup accident for one involved as many as 133 vehicles. Cars and trucks went into a chain reaction of crashes and smashes on the icy Dallas-Fort Worth road, leaving 65 people injured and 6 people dead.
Actually, the general travel advice is for people to take road trips only when necessary. Although first responders and even towing crews are on active duty to respond to any emergency calls for medical or roadside assistance, the extraordinary nature of the inclement weather has been slowing down their ability to respond swiftly.
Nonetheless, if travel is really necessary, drivers must heed certain precautions regardless of their driving skills.
Some Precautions to Take When Driving in the Snow
Always drive slowly as reducing the speed can make lower traction more manageable when driving on snow or on icy roads.
Make it a point to accelerate by applying gas slowly to avoid skidding while the vehicle is still trying to regain traction. Decelerate slowly, especially when approaching stop lights while on icy roads, as it also takes time for the vehicle to slow down to make a full stop.
Increase the distance maintained between one’s vehicle and that of the vehicle in front, whilst observing an increased margin of safety of five to six seconds. Doing so will give the vehicle ample distance and time to stop.
Have awareness when applying brakes, regardless if a vehicle has antilock brakes or not. It’s best not to keep the heel of one’s foot planted on the floor. Instead, allow the ball of one’s foot to keep a steady and firm pressure on the brake pedal.
Make a full stop only if necessary as making a full stop in a snowy road requires greater inertia in order to get the engine rolling again .
Do not apply extra gas on snow-covered roads as doing so will only make the wheels spin. When about to ascend a hilly road, try to build a little inertia while on a flat road, before making the ascent. That way the inertia will allow the vehicle to climb, whilst reducing the need to pump gas in reaching the top of road.
Once at the top, descend by letting the inertia of an inclined road move the vehicle downward.
Keep Up to Date with Weather Warnings
Although the weather In California today is still sunny, CalTrans has closed HIghway 1, the 12-mile stretch south of Big Sur in Monterey, for making necessary road repairs before the Polar Vortex winter storms arrive. Meteorologists warned that the extraordinarily harsh winter weather will take place in all states, including in the island of Hawaii.
Visitors and road travelers still staying in the San Jose Bay Area are advised to have a ready list of emergency numbers to call, including companies towing san jose located vehicles.