Snow is not a regular event in Georgia. When a winter storm arrives in the state it can be devastating because local authorities are ill-prepared for bad weather and drivers are not accustomed to it. Here are five bad weather driving tips to help you if a snowstorm hits or the mercury drops.

1 Beware of Black Ice

During snowy weather, drivers may pay lots of attention to the snow but fail to realize there’s a layer of ice under it.

Even in the absence of snow, black ice can form on roads. It’s particularly dangerous because you can’t see it. If the temperatures fall below freezing and there has been recent rain, you should always look out for black ice.

The ice is most likely to occur on bridges and overpasses which freeze before other road surfaces.

You should also watch out for ice if you are walking on pavements. A melting and freezing pattern may reoccur during cold days. You may think the ice has gone but it reappears in the evening or the morning as you are leaving school or work or returning the next day. Be particularly wary of shady spots where the sun has not melted ice.

If you believe ice is on the road, cut your speed. If you go into a skid at a high speed, you may lose control of your car and cause a very serious accident.

Bad weather driving tips

Five bad weather driving tips

2 Be Prepared

In 2014, less than two inches of snow crippled Atlanta. Drivers were stranded on highways and children remained stuck overnight at schools.

Few drivers were prepared for the scale of this weather event and city authorities failed to adequately regulate the commute home from the city.

Be as prepared as you possibly can for snow. Make sure you have an ice scraper and a snow brush in your car. Don’t leave it in the truck because ice may make it difficult to open the trunk.

Ensure you have a full tank of gas. Check your car’s tire pressure, battery and oil. You should also make sure all occupants of the car have warm clothes like boots, hats, scarves and gloves.

Other items of winter kit for your car should include rock salt, a blanket, ample water, a shovel and cat litter to put under your wheels in case you are stranded in snow. Make sure your cellphone is charged and you have a membership of a breakdown service.

 3 Check Weather Reports

Drivers often get into trouble when they are caught unawares. On occasions, a simple check of the weather forecast may help. If snow is already falling and more is forecast, it’s prudent to stay at home.

If you are at work and the snow is scheduled to start falling at 5 p.m., leave earlier than usual. Pay attention to the areas that are most severely impacted to avoid those roads.

4 Be Careful in Parking Lots

Snow often accumulates in parking lots and they are one of the leading areas for falls. It may take several days to clear a parking lot and your car could be stuck there. If snow was forecast, park your car in a covered parking garage.

5 Keep Your Distance

You should remain a considerable way behind the car in front of you in bad weather. Visibility is reduced and stopping speeds are longer.

Always stay far back from snow removal equipment. These are bulky vehicles with blind spots. We have seen instances in which drivers have been killed or injured by snow plows.

These trucks may be spreading salt or other materials to melt snow and ice. If you travel too close it may end up on your windshield further blocking your ability to see.

If you have been hurt in a car crash in Georgia, please call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529. Also, see our wet weather driving advice.