You have undoubtedly heard the jokes about Southern drivers told by your brethren above the Mason Dixon Line. They believe folks in the South cannot drive in the snow and ice. They have mental images of Southerners swerving about and running off the road. Well, to a degree, this perception is true.

In wintry weather all havoc breaks loose. Do you recall the Atlanta Snow Jam of 2014? Kids were stuck on school buses. Cars got abandoned after running out of gas while sitting in traffic for hours. The Governor had to proclaim a state of emergency.

The reality is things get dicey in bad weather. However, things can be much different. Southerners can better survive wintry roads by following some simple rules.

Watch Out for Black Ice

It is important to pay attention to and be aware of black ice. This thin layer of ice covers winter roads, making them extremely slippery.

The moniker “black ice” comes from the transparency of the covering. When driving fast, a motorist can easily miss the hard to distinguish glare. For this reason, it is highly important for you to drive a bit more slowly in wintry weather. Take it easy and keep an eye out for icing.

Be especially vigilant when the temperature is below 32 degrees and there is precipitation falling. Look for patches of gloss along the road.

Brake Earlier and Gradually

Southerners are used to driving fast and, then, stopping on a dime when necessary. Doing so is more problematic for you in the snow.

Vehicles often continue moving with inertia when snow is on the ground. The normal friction between road and tires is affected by the layer of snow. So, it is necessary to brake earlier and more gradually. Otherwise, the odds of you running into something or somebody increase significantly.

Maintain a Safe Distance

Tailgating like a NASCAR driver is not recommended on most days but certainly not in the snow or ice.

Maintain an exaggerated following distance during winter weather. Normally, motorists should stay about three seconds behind others. Triple this time to nine seconds, in general, during inclement winter weather.

De-Ice Surfaces

Be sure to have some rock salt available to de-ice surfaces that are covered with large amounts of ice. Unfortunately, most cities are ill-prepared to deal with snow and icing. Few own the large fleets of winter plows found up North. This task falls upon all responsible motorists.

Think you could safely drive a 18-wheeler in winter conditions? Thousands of drivers do so every year, but more drivers are needed. If you’re ready to get behind the wheel of a big truck, learn from master certified instructors at Diesel Driving Academy who will teach you how to safely maneuver a truck in all weather conditions. Classes are always forming, but call today so we can save you a spot in our next one! 1-800-551-8900.