Slow down NH, and smell the snowplows
What's in your winter driving safety kit?Experts suggest you keep:
• Cell phone, cell phone charger, flashlight, spare batteries, first-aid kit, windshield wiper fluid, ice scraper
• Red or brightly-colored flag to hang from vehicle. Safety triangles. Foldable shovel. Sand or kitty litter to provide traction on icy spots
• Blanket or sleeping bag, sweater, jacket, hat, mittens to keep warm while waiting for help to arrive. Food, water
• Jumper cables
• Keep your car's gas tank at least half full
"Look out!" State Police Sgt. Ronald Taylor heard someone yell. Taylor turned in time to see a royal blue Ford Focus crash through a 15-foot embankment and come somersaulting right at him.
The 2,700 pounds of steel and glass hit the ground about 5 feet from Taylor, bounced, and spun over his head.
"It ended up rolling over me," he added.
"None of these accidents happen because of bad weather. They happen because of bad driving. They are either going too fast or not paying attention. That's why we call them crashes, and not accidents," explained Taylor, a 12-year veteran assigned to Troop D barracks.
Many New Hampshire drivers venture into snow storms, sleet and freezing rain in vehicles equipped with all-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, traction control and dashboard displays that show when road temperatures can slick over into black ice.
Don't rely on vehicle
Worse, motorists may develop an inflated sense of confidence in their vehicle's capacity to handle anything nature can throw at them.
"Sometimes people think they are invincible because they are in a four-wheel drive vehicle. But all four-wheel drive does is help you gain traction so you can get momentum to move forward. Four-wheel drive doesn't help you stop and it's not necessarily going to help you turn either," Vincent said.
The type of vehicle isn't as important as maintaining it well and making sure you have good quality tires that are properly inflated.
Make sure you're all of your vehicle is in working order, not just tires, Henderson advised.
Watch for shaded areas on roads where dry pavement can suddenly become slick with ice.
Not only can motorists not see well if they follow plows too closely, but plow drivers also cannot see them.
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