Atlanta averages less than 3 inches of snow per year. When temperatures fall and winter storms hit, many Georgia drivers face driving conditions even more challenging than those found in typically colder areas. When snow is a regular part of winter, steps are taken in advance to manage it. Snow plows and salt trucks stand ready to combat the regular snow seen in many cities. In Georgia, snow is rarer and all the more disastrous for its rarity.
What to do
By far the best thing you can do when snow, sleet and freezing rain hit is stay off the roads. The more cars on the road when winter weather hits, the worse the congestion. Avoid the stress and the greatly increased chance of getting into a car accident by staying home.
Proper maintenance and preparation
If your brakes are soft, your tires are worn or your windshield wipers are malfunctioning, winter weather can make your drive impossible. It is also important to make sure your battery is in good condition and that you have jumper cables on hand in case you have trouble starting your vehicle. Finally, it is a good idea to keep things like blankets, water, a shovel, roadside flares and other emergency supplies in your vehicle when the weather is bad.
If you simply must drive, be prepared for long waits. Patience is the key to avoiding many winter driving accidents. Aggressive driving is never a good idea, but on slick, icy roads, it is a recipe for disaster. Give the cars around you room, even if that means getting cut off occasionally. When a normally 15-minute drive takes more than an hour, frustration can lead you to make poor decisions behind the wheel.
Steering and braking
When conditions are icy, you should brake early and lightly. If you slam on the brakes, it is likely that your car will start to skid and turn as it does so. This can send you out of your lane and into the cars next to you. Steering, likewise, needs to be handled carefully. Don't turn the wheel abruptly. A slight skid can turn into a spin if you are not careful. You should also avoid the use of cruise control in bad weather, as it can delay your ability to recognize when ice becomes a problem.
Stay safe and remain calm and hopefully you will get through the winter season unscathed.