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How To Navigate Icy Roads On Your Commute

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Friday's winter weather created slushy, slick conditions on the road after central Maryland was blanketed in snow.

The Maryland Department of Transportation provided some tips on driving to survive in winter weather.

Before getting behind the wheel, try to delay your commute to give road crews time to salt the roads. If you need to drive, allow yourself extra time to get where you're going.

Here are some more actions MDOT suggested before hitting the road:

  • Take time to remove all ice and snow from your car, concentrating on the windows, wipers, mirrors and lights. You need to see and be seen by others.
  • Pack a winter driving survival kit – include a shovel, blanket, water, jumper cables, flares, snacks and a flashlight.
  • Before taking to the road, go to CHART to view traffic cameras and STORM to see if snow plows have reached your area.
  • Check your car's antifreeze, oil, battery, defroster, heater, wipers and washer fluid level.
  • Travel with plenty of gas in the tank.
  • Inspect the tires to be sure there is adequate tread. Check air pressure to ensure proper inflation. Use radials or chains during snow emergencies.

When you're driving, MDOT said:

  • When roadways are icy or snow-covered, never drive as you would during clear weather and when road surfaces are dry.
  • Beware: Four-wheel drive vehicles are just as vulnerable to slipping on ice as regular two-wheel drive vehicles.
  • Increase following distance between your vehicle and others on the road, especially snowplows. Packed snow and ice create a smooth, glass-like surface beneath your tires, making it difficult to control your vehicle. So, keep your distance.
  • "Don't Crowd the Plow" – Never pass a snow plow or salt truck, and be especially respectful of a plow train! A plow train is a group of trucks that forms a line across lanes to clear snow. Operators may not see you and your car may get caught on a snow-covered plow edge
  • Bridges and ramps freeze first and may be especially difficult to navigate.

If you're in trouble:

  • If you are stranded, don't abandon your vehicle. The safest place to wait for help is in your car. If your car breaks down, move your vehicle as far off the roadway as possible and lift the hood. Leave a distress signal, such as a scarf, hanging from the window. Note: If you abandon your vehicle, it will be subject to towing, ticketing and a fine.
  • If your car begins to skid, don't slam on your brakes. Take your foot off the gas pedal and immediately steer in the direction of the skid.
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