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Posted: Monday, 27 January 2014 3:49PM

Motorists should use extreme caution

It is strongly recommended that you do not venture outside Tuesday, during what Mayor Landrieu has called "the worst winter weather event we have seen in 10 years, maybe even 25 years." If you absolutely must be on the roads tomorrow, review these winter driving tips before heading out and remember that no errand, no deadline is more important than your own safety and the safety of other drivers around you.

Remember that "freezing rain" in the forecast means that there will be rainfall that will freeze overnight, then thaw again the next morning, then freeze again the next night. So even though the precipitation may have passed, the danger of icy roads may remain.

1.) Prepare ahead of time

It almost goes without saying, but fill your gas tank and check your other fluid levels before the worst of the weather event arrives. Put some bottled water and snacks and blankets in your car just in case you become stranded on the roadway. Bring a phone charger too.

2.) Start your engine early & de-ice windows, mirrors and lights

15 minutes before you need to leave the house, start your car in the driveway (or in your garage with the door open) and just let it sit and idle until it is time to go. Use this time to remove ice from your windshield using a hard spatula or other plastic implement in the absence of a scraper. Knives and metal objects can damage your windshield. You can make a de-icing solution using 2 parts rubbing alcohol and one part water, or 3 parts vinegar to one part water. Do NOT use hot or even slightly warm water, as this could crack your windshield!

3.) Drive slowly and obey the law!

Posted speed limits are designed for ideal conditions, so slow it way down and leave extra space between you and other cars. Accelerate slowly and use low gears, especially on hills and bridges.

If you start to skid, remain calm and slowly pump the brakes (unless you have ABS, then slowly apply the brakes and leave them applied) and slowly turn the wheel in the direction of the skid - if the rear wheels are coming around your left shoulder, turn the wheel to the left. If the rear wheels are coming around your right shoulder, turn to the right. Repeat until you regain control.

Stay in the right lane unless you are passing another vehicle. Do NOT use your hazard lights unless your vehicle is completely stopped or disabled.

4.) If you get stuck, clear a path for your tires and use a friction agent

If your tires are slipping on ice or blocked by snow and you can't get your car moving, do NOT just put on the gas in hopes that suddenly they'll catch and you'll be on your way. Spinning your wheels will only get you more stuck. Wiggle the steering wheel around to push ice and snow out of the way. If you have some handy, throw down a bit of kitty litter, sand or salt in front of your tires. Small rocks, sticks or pieces of asphalt can be useful here as well.

5.) Be good to one another.

We're all in this together, and even though you might be comfortable driving in hazardous conditions, others may not be, so extend a little courtesy to your fellow drivers and don't let yourself be frustrated by drivers who are moving slowly and cautiously. If you're one of those who is not comfortable in hazardous conditions, don't let yourself be hurried and put into danger by others. 


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