KENNEWICK -- Winter will be upon us shortly.
We went from leaves changing colors and the mornings turning colder to snow and arctic conditions. To help us and our cars prepare for winter, here are some tips to make your next trip on slippery roads a little easier:
* Prepare your car by completely removing all of the snow or ice. Too often, we see drivers venturing out on the street with only a small space in the windshield cleared for the driver to see. It is already dangerous with slick streets. Don't make it worse by not being able to see. Keeping all of the snow and ice off of your car helps others see you better and will help your car warm up more quickly.
* Make sure that your car has wiper blades that are in good condition. If the blades are not in good condition, then you could find yourself without them because they broke in freezing conditions.
* Ensure that your tires have adequate tread and are rated for all weather conditions.
Those low-profile performance tires you bought last summer will not work well in the snow and ice.
* If you are traveling across a mountain pass, then it is required to carry chains and recommended to have emergency supplies such as a shovel, sand, water, food and warm clothing.
* Above all, give yourself extra time and increase your following distance. As you approach an intersection, you may find that it is the most slippery part of the roadway because all of the cars have been sliding. The roadway may look clear until you begin to slow down and find that the roadway is more slippery than thought.
* To avoid an accident, give yourself extra time and following distance. As you approach and intersection, apply brakes well before you arrive. If the intersection is iced over, you will be going slow enough to avoid a collision. If you have ABS brakes, then apply and hold them down. If you have an older car without ABS brakes, then pump the brake pedal to avoid letting the tires locking up into a skid. Once your car starts to skid, you have lost control. We have a lot of winter driving ahead of us. Take your time and get to your destination safely.
* If you have a question that you would like to see answered in the "Kennewick PD Traffic Corner" column, send those questions to Sgt. Ken Lattin at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to 211 W. Sixth Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336.
Sgt. Lattin supervises the Kennewick Police Traffic Unit and is the Law Enforcement Liaison representing the Benton & Franklin County Law Enforcement to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission in Olympia.