Braving the roads in winter weather


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN)– Driving on snow and ice can be tricky– but there are some things you can do to avoid trouble.

Lieutenant Charlie Caplinger of the Tennessee State Highway Patrol brought us to the vehicle training tracks at both the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy and the Tennessee State Highway Patrol to demonstrate a few things.  

First, what do you do if you get into a skid?

Caplinger says, “So if you’re approaching a curve and you start to press your brake pedal and your brakes lock up and you start sliding and going towards the ditch if you continue to hold your brake pedal down, you’re going to go into the ditch.  If you’ll just let off your brake pedal, your car will catch back up to itself and you can continue to make the turn”.

The modern technology of anti-lock brakes, which most cars have these days, are a big help.  

However, how they work needs to be understood by the driver.

Caplinger says, “When you hit your brakes and you get on them real hard when it’s icy or something, you’ll feel that anti-lock system pulsing.  And that’s nothing to be alarmed about. That’s exactly what it’s designed to do.  And it’s pulsing to stop, rather than to lock the wheels up.  Because you have two things, two components, and that’s steering and braking.  And when your brakes are locked, you might as well not even have your hands on the wheel.  Because you’re not going to turn if you are in a skid”.

Caplinger says a lot of rules of driving on snow and ice are just common sense:

“You just have to allow yourself extra time.  Make sure that you drive with your headlights on, and drive ahead.  What I mean by driving ahead is, don’t just drive in your car.  Look ahead and see what’s going on in front of you and allow yourself plenty of time to stop”.

In case you do spin out or get stuck, Lt. Caplinger recommends you have an emergency kit in your car that includes blankets, gloves, water, and non-perishable foods like granola bars.  

You can also keep a bag of kitty litter in the car to put under your tires in case you get stuck.

While you are stuck, don’t run the car continuously for heat for fear of carbon monoxide poisoning.  

Also, make sure no snow or ice had clogged your exhaust pipe.  This could back up carbon monoxide into your car.

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