How to Drive in Whiteout Conditions

By Rachel Martin

February 1, 2013 Updated Feb 1, 2013 at 12:12 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – With the recent, multicar pile-ups around Indianapolis and Detroit, here are some tips to driving safely in wintery weather.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation in Canada, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of being in a pile-up. Whether it's a whiteout or icy roads, there's really no difference between driving in a light snowfall and a heavy winter storm.

The first thing to do is slow down and drive at a speed that suits the outdoor conditions. Be sure to drive with your headlights on. Not only so you can see, but so that other drivers can see you.
Also, use your defrost and windshield wipers to maximize your vision. And, allow more distance between you and the car in front of you, especially when braking.

As far as things you shouldn’t do while driving in inclement winter conditions, if you find you need to stop don’t stop on the road. Instead, pull over on the side of the road or find a parking area if possible. Be patient. Do not attempt to speed up, change lanes, or pass another vehicle as it could cause congestion and confusion. And, don’t drive distracted. Put away your smartphones and other devices. Paying attention to the road should always be your first priority.

However, in instances like Thursday with multiple pile-ups across the Midwest, drivers were backed-up for hours. So, what should you do if you have to stop or even if you get stuck? Transportation officials say stay with your vehicle to keep warm until help arrives, and turn on your flashers, but only run your motor sparingly. In case you ever get stuck, transportation officials recommend having a driving survival kit which includes: a cell phone and charger, a blanket or extra clothing, non-perishable foods, a shovel, and a candle or flashlight with extra batteries.

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