Though no specific Maryland law mandates clearing a vehicle of all accumulated snow and ice, it is the safe and responsible thing to do, according to Ragina C. Averella, Public and Government Affairs manager for the regional organization.
"For your safety and the safety of other motorists, it is imperative for drivers to first remove snow and ice from the roofs, windshield, trunks and hoods of their vehicles before hitting the road," Averella said in a statement. "Unfortunately, many drivers fault o realize that the accumulated snow on their vehicle can fly off while they're driving, posing a serious hazard to others on the road."
The snow can also slide down and cover the windshield, obscuring the driver's vision and putting their lives and those of their passengers and other motorists at risk, she said.
AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following additional tips for a safe journey – How to Go on Ice and Snow:
Buckle Up - Use seat belts every time you are behind the wheel.
Slow down - Drivers are more likely to lose control of the vehicle when roads are wet or icy.
Front Wheel Skids - Regardless of whether the vehicle has front-, rear- or four-wheel drive, the best ways to regain control if the front wheels skid are:
- Continue to look where you want to go.
- Steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
- Avoid slamming on the brakes. Although hitting the brakes is a typical response, slamming the brakes will only further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to regain control.
- Wait for the front wheels to grip the road again. As soon as traction returns, the vehicle will start to steer again.
- When the front wheels have regained their grip, steer the wheels gently in the desired direction of travel.
Do Not Use Cruise Control and Avoid Tailgating - Normal following distances of three to four seconds for dry pavement should be increased to eight to 10 seconds when driving on icy, slippery surfaces.
If you become stranded - Make sure the tailpipe is free of snow to prevent carbon monoxide from building up in the vehicle. If you are sure the car's exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour or so depending upon the amount of gas in the tank.
Emergency Road Kit – Should contain an ice scraper and snow brush; sand, cat litter, or traction mats; small shovel; gloves, hats and blankets; flashlight with fresh batteries; shop rags or paper towels; jumper cables; warning flares or triangles; drinking water; non-perishable energy/granola bars; first-aid kit; mobile phone and car charger with important numbers pre-programmed, including a roadside assistance provider.