A winter wonderland not so fun for drivers

Ah, the falling of fresh, white snow. A winter blanket marking the start of the season.

For those who get to appreciate this winter wonderland from inside a warm home or get to spend an afternoon out of school making snowmen, the falling snow is met with open arms.

But for those who must take to the snowy roads and make the white-knuckled drive into work, the snow is more of a headache than not. While there will always be those drivers speeding down the road with their four-wheel-drive SUVs, their invincibility is not foolproof. They are usually the ones getting pulled out of ditches.

But for those who do their best to drive with caution, we thank you for keeping everyone’s safety in mind. The weather reports are calling for more snow this weekend, so if driving in snow-covered Kitsap County this last week still has you feeling a bit rattled, here are some helpful tips, courtesy of the Washington State Patrol, to help you get through this arctic blast:

• You should always travel at a safe following distance, maintaining a longer distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.

• Look out for sudden slowing of traffic. Plan your own stops and slow down well in advance.

• Brake carefully and do so only while you are traveling in a straight line. When applying the brakes, do so gently and release just before the brakes lock.

• Beware of icy spots. Ice patches are 10 times more slippery than dry pavement. Watch out for black ice at intersections, underpasses, shady spots and bridges.

• Negotiate icy hills carefully. When driving up hills, don’t slow down or you will lose your momentum. When driving down hills, use low gear, not the brakes.

• If you are skidding, take your foot off the gas and leave your foot off the brake. Make no rapid or sudden movements until you have control of the steering again.

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