Snowplow drivers often have limited visibility and drivers will probably find the road in front of them worse than the road behind, officials said.
In addition to slowing down on slippery, rain-slickened streets, the Reno Police Department is reminding area motorists to give themselves plenty of room to stop by allowing at least three times more space than usual between their car and vehicles in front of them especially during snow and ice conditions on area streets and roads.
Slowing down and driving with cautious respect for conditions is a key to maintaining vehicle control and avoiding accidents during winter driving conditions and that applies to four-wheel drive vehicles as well.
Although four-wheel drive vehicles may have better traction than others, they have no better stopping power than any other vehicle on the road in winter driving conditions so they need to adhere to slower driving as well.
Not driving during storm conditions is the best advice for driving in winter weather, according to the Reno Police Department, which cautions that if you must go out, then try to wait until snowplow and sanding operations have had a chance to pass along the streets. Motorists should use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills as well as keeping a safe distance behind snowplows that can make sudden stops, or must stop sanding operations to avoid sanding mixtures from hitting following vehicles. Too often, motorists get in a hurry to pass snowplows, which increases the chance of an accident according to Reno police.
Other winter driving tips offered by the Reno Police Department include:
• Use chains on two-wheel drive vehicles, or drive a four-wheel driver vehicle with mud and snow tires when there is snow and ice on streets and roads.
• Brake gently to avoid skidding. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS) do not pump the breaks, but instead apply steady pressure. You will feel the brakes pulse, which is normal.
• Turn on your headlights to increase visibility to other motorists and keep the windshield and headlight lenses clean. Make sure headlights and tail lights are cleared of snow and ice accumulations.
• Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter problems in winter driving conditions.
• Don’t pass snowplows and sanding trucks. The drivers often have limited visibility and you will probably find the road in front of them worse than the road behind. Keep a safe distance behind snowplows, to give yourself plenty of braking space if you need to suddenly stop.
• If you begin to skid, take your foot off the gas and turn into the skid (steer into the direction you want to go).
• Always wear seatbelts and make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt and that children are secured in child seat restraints.
• Make sure that your windshield wipers are in good condition and maintain adequate levels of window washing fluid for winter conditions.
• Use water pipe heat tape with caution to prevent fires.
Extreme cold temperatures are being forecast over the next few days, prompting Reno Fire Marshal Joan Presley to warn area residents who are using or installing electric heat tape on pipes to keep them from freezing to be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions for use.