WASHINGTON — Not everyone can stay home when it snows. Some people must be on the roads. But driving on snowy roads requires skill, common sense and patience.
“Steady and slow is the key. Don’t try to go too fast. Take your time,” advises Jim Battagliese, WTOP’s director of traffic operations and author of the book “Stuck in Traffic.”
Battagliese recommends keeping the car engine’s revolutions per minute at around 2,000 or the number “2” on the rpm gauge when driving in snowy conditions.
“Make sure you’re not giving it too much gas, that just makes your wheels spin,” Battagliese says.
It’s also critical to keep a safe braking distance from the car ahead.
“You could be the best snow driver in the world but if the guys around you are not, that’s when you’re going to get yourself in trouble,” he warns.
Before leaving the driveway make sure you have windshield washer fluid. Check your tires. If a penny placed head first into the tire tread shows the top of Lincoln’s head, your tires are worn — definitely don’t drive in the snow.
“Make sure you clear your car off, and not just the windows and the headlights and the brake lights but the top of the car,” Battagliese says, recalling his dad once failed to clear the snow from the car roof and a sudden stopped snapped the car’s radio antenna.
Be extra careful on the off ramps.
“That off ramp may not be plowed. The ramps are usually the last things that get plowed,” Battagliese says, adding the sobering thought that off ramps are where WTOP Traffic sees the most rollover accidents, typically SUV’s.