Snow driving tips and emergency kit essentials from AAA as winter storm draws near

Tips to drive in the snow
AAA car kit
Posted at 1:50 PM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 20:32:30-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - AAA tow truck drivers in Hampton Roads are making their final checks.

"We are trying to prepare ourselves best as possible," said veteran town truck driver Shawn Murphy.

He is crossing his Ts and dotting his Is, ready for a long couple of days.

"I plan on having my bed here," Murphy laughs.

He and 50 other drivers in the region are prepared to rescue drivers who may have to drive on the snowy, icy roads - or those curious cats who make their way out.

"If at all possible, please stay off the roads," Murphy said.

For those who must drive, like essential workers, AAA of Tidewater has some crucial tips.

"Give yourself more distance between you and vehicle in front of you. Usually, you have 3 to 4 seconds behind vehicles - double that and come back to 7 to 8 seconds," said Holly Collins Dalby, the director of AAA Public Affairs.

Also, Darby says to pump up your tires, get your wipers ready and check to make sure fluids are full.

"Don’t let your gas get down to empty. Keep a good half a tank in there. That prevents anything freezing up in the gas lines," Darby said.

If you hit black ice or skid:

"Look and steer the way you want to go. So, if you are skidding to the right and you want to go left, you want to look and steer to the left. Also, don’t slam on your brakes," Darby said.

She also says don't use cruise control or change lanes unnecessarily, as snow and ice can build up between the lanes.

Darby also says to keep kitty litter or sand in your car should you need traction to get out of an icy situation.

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If you get stranded or stuck, AAA recommends having all these essentials:

  • Mobile phone and car charger
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Jumper cables or jump pack
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench, duct tape, plastic zip ties)
  • Tarp, raincoat and gloves to help stay clean/dry working at the roadside
  • Rags, paper towels or pre-moistened wipes
  • Warning devices (flares, reflective triangles or LED beacons)
  • First aid kit
  • Drinking water
  • Snacks/food for your passengers and any pets
  • Ice scraper
  • Snow brush
  • Winter windshield washer solvent
  • Traction aids (sand, salt, non-clumping cat litter or traction mats)
  • Shovel
  • Warm gloves, clothes, hats and blankets for all passengers in your car
  • Jumper cables

Darby says these are good items to have in your car all year round.

But for now, as the winter storm approaches, the message from these experts is to stay off the road and stay home if you can.

"Your life isn't worth it; mine isn't worth it; my driver's isn't worth it," Murphy said.

If you need help, AAA has 24/7 Roadside Assistance: 1-800-400-4222.

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