Sadie Says: Answers to frequently asked questions about safe driving

Q: Driving in snow and rain makes me nervous. What can I do if I have to drive in bad weather?

A: If driving in bad weather makes you uncomfortable – don’t do it.

If you must go out, observe the following:

Be prepared

Carry a snow emergency travel kit that includes a flashlight (check batteries), sand or kitty litter, a shovel, ice scraper and blanket. Take along a cell phone with charger and for longer trips or trips in less populated areas. Also take water, snacks and any necessary medications.

Keep the gas tank close to full.

Let someone know when and where you are going and when you expect to arrive.

Be safe

Do not use cruise control on rain or snow covered roads.

Use headlights when you use the wipers (Pennsylvania law).

Remove ice and snow from the vehicle; if injury or death occurs by ice or snow flying from the vehicle, you can be ticketed (Pa. law).

Be cautious

Stay at least six car lengths behind an operating snow plow.

Do not pass or get between trucks plowing in a “plow line” (several trucks plowing side-by-side).

Do not park or abandon a vehicle on snow emergency routes.

Time to “re-tire”?

If you use snow tires, have them installed before the snow flies.

If you are replacing tires, check out for tire ratings.

Tire rubber starts to degrade after several years and older tires may need to be replaced, even if they have not seen much wear.

Check the vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations for when to replace a tire – some manufacturers recommend that tires be replaced every six years, regardless of use.

Don’t forget to check the spare tire too.

Want to learn more about safe driving and save money on car insurance?

If you are age 55 or over, consider taking an older driver refresher course.

And always buckle up. It’s the best defense against a drinking, drowsy or distracted driver.

“Sadie Says…” is brought to you by the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition’s Safe Communities Task Force, whose members include AAA North Penn, AARP, Area Agency on Aging and regional transportation and highway safety advocates.