I am from Wisconsin, so naturally I have quite a bit of experience driving in the snow. When I first moved to OCU, I faced the prospect of an Oklahoma “winter” fearlessly. After all, how bad could it be?
It turns out, driving on snow-covered Oklahoma roads presents an entirely new series of challenges to those of us with little experience driving them.
Often, snow accumulation in the city only tops at around a few inches. This precipitation melts during the day. But those warmer temps drop to below freezing once the sun goes down, and suddenly the roads around campus are slick with ice. In the past week alone, over four inches of snow have fallen in the metro area. Today’s weather forecast included “a thin glaze of ice, followed by up to an inch of sleet, followed by snow,” according to KFOR News. In addition to causing school cancellations, this weather also makes the roads incredibly hazardous. If you do not have to travel this evening (or in the case of any bad weather), it’s best to curl up with a cup of cocoa and stay inside. But for those times when you do have to venture out into the frigid cold, it’s vital to know the proper way to drive on icy Oklahoma roadways.
- Make sure your car is in good working order during the winter months. That means keeping the tank at least half full, ensuring the tire pressure is right, and getting your oil checked and changed.
- This almost goes without saying…but make sure to buckle up! Accidents can happen quicker than you can imagine, especially in bad weather.
- Make sure to clear off windows/windshields fully before driving. It’s a hassle, and chills your hands, but it’s important to be able to see fully.
- Make sure to carry a blanket, jumper cables, and other tools in the car, should anything bad happen. Also make sure your cell phone is charged, so you can call for help in a sticky situation.
- If you don’t feel comfortable driving in bad weather, don’t! Ask someone more experienced (like your friendly neighborhood Wisconsinite) to drive instead. Make sure you treat them to cocoa after.
Driving in the Snow and Ice
- Accelerate AND decelerate slowly. To gain traction, make sure to tap, not press, on the gas or the brakes.
- Make sure you give yourself plenty of space to stop. It’s very easy to slide right through stop signs and stop lights on icy roads.
- Go slowly. This allows you time to maneuver the car if you get in a sticky situation.
- Do not follow other cars closely. Give a lot of space between you and the next vehicle. If they slam on their brakes, you’ll have time to stop on slick roads.
- Be extra careful on hills. Do not stop while going up them–try to build inertia so you don’t get stuck! On the way down, go very slowly. It’s very easy to lose control over a car on slick hills.
- Watch out for overpasses and bridges; they ice faster than the roads.
- Even though it’s extra chilly, take your gloves or mittens off to drive. They make it easy for your hands to slip off the wheel.
- When parking, take everything VERY slowly. Many winter crashes happen in parking lots!
More tips for wintery conditions can be found on the AAA website.