The Missouri Department of Transportation has published tips for drivers to stay safe when conditions are snowy, icy or characterized by a wintry mix.
Recovering from a skid
MoDOT offered the following tips in the event you find yourself losing control of your vehicle.
If your rear wheels skid:
— Take your foot off of the accelerator.
— Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. For example, if your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they’re sliding right, steer right.
— If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
— If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
— If you have anti-lock brakes, do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.
If your front wheels skid:
— Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately.
— As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in “drive” or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.
If you get stuck:
— Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
— Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
— Use a light touch on the gas to ease your car out.
— Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
— Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels to help get traction.
— Try rocking the vehicle. Check your owner’s manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.
— Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you’re in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.
For more information on driving in winter weather, visit https://www.modot.org/winter-driving-tips.
Share the road with snowplows
Don’t go out during a snowstorm if you can avoid it. If you do, buckle up — always. If you must go out, here are some tips to share the road with snowplows:
— Give snowplows room to work; don’t tailgate or try to pass.
— Stay at least four car lengths back from snowplows and equipment.
— Plowed snow can create a cloud that can blind drivers following too closely.
— Spreaders on trucks can throw salt, sand or cinders that can damage close-following vehicles.
— Salt brine trucks have a sign on the back warning motorists stay back. That is for your safety as well as the drivers. They can’t see you and the brine sprays across three traffic lanes whether you are driving in them or not.
— Plow truck operators have to focus on snow removal and cannot always watch out for the drivers surrounding them, which means they may not see you if you try to pass or even collide with MoDOT equipment.
— Always have your headlights on, plenty of fuel and wiper fluid and tires with ample tread.
— Remember that a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.