Written by Sheldon M. Goodman, Ph.D. Friday, 03 February 2012 00:00
(Editor’s Note: In the past Dr. Goodman offered a series of local safety articles. We welcome his return.)
The best advice for driving in snowy weather is if it is at all possible, avoid getting into your car. Don’t go out until the plows and sanding trucks have done their work and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.
Some helpful techniques would be to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot so you are familiar with how your car handles and how comfortable you feel being the one in the drivers seat. When you do have drive in the snow what precautionary steps might you engage in:
1. Decrease your speed and leave plenty of room to stop. Allow as much as three times more space than you usually do between you and the car in front of you.
2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels should start to lock-up, ease off the brakes and turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
3. Don’t use cruise control on icy roads.
4. Read the road; i.e., to choose then appropriate speed and get the feel of the road by starting out slowly and testing your level of steering control and braking ability.
5. Be a good driver by looking ahead and anticipating problems.
6. Last but certainly not least, use your seatbelt every time you get into your vehicle and use your cell phone in accord with the state laws and in accord with what research has proven to be the effect of driving distractively on our brains (this would also include working on your computer, inserting CD’s and fiddling with your radio and watch your level and intensity of conversation with any passengers you might have).
To help prepare for the winter driving season have a tune-up; keep your gas tank full; have fresh antifreeze installed. Also properly inflate your spare tire; have a shovel available as well as a bag of salt or cat litter; a tool kit and working flashlight, first aid kit, scrapper and snow brush and some non-perishable food.
Here are thoughts for the residents of the Village Of Great Neck Plaza. Keep in mind that during large snow events residents should call the Vvillage for daily updates at 482-4500) and check the website: www.villageofgreatneckplaza.org. You may wonder if you have to move your car for street cleaning when it snows? The answer is alternate street parking will be suspended in the village for a period of 24 hours after the cessation of at least four inches of a snow storm of at least four inches of snow, as published by the National Weather Service. During major snow storms, The village may allow parking in the municipal garages but check with them to see for how long, as this allowance will vary according to the size of the storm.
Go slow in the snow or stay at home and watch the storm through your window while you and your family make some hot chocolate.