Safety tips for Louisville winter driving

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Louisville and the surrounding areas, effective from 7 am Thursday through 7 am Friday. This advisory says that Louisville residents can expect the first significant snowfall of the season starting tomorrow morning, with up to 3 to 4 inches of snow possible through Friday. It's likely that the roadways will be packed with snow for the next 24 to 48 hours. Here are some things you can do to prepare, and to avoid getting in a car accident:

Make sure your vehicle is properly cleared of snow and ice before you start your trip.

Running late to work? Rushing to get the kids to school on time? It can be tempting to drive off before your vehicle is properly cleared. After all, significant snow on your car or stubborn ice on your windshield can take several minutes to clear. But doing so is one of the most important things you can do to prevent a car crash in poor weather.

You need to be able to see clearly. Snow, rain, fog and other weather is already going to result in poor visibility; don't let the visibility be any worse by driving with an obscured view. Budget some extra time to clear your vehicle of snow and ice, and make sure your windshield washer fluid is full.

Increase your following distance.

In snow, ice and rain, it takes longer for your vehicle to come to a stop. For that reason, you should increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, when this weather is present.

Consider decreasing your speed if it feels appropriate.

Because it takes longer to stop and because it is easier to lose control of your vehicle, it's often a good idea to reduce your speed on snowy, icy and rainy roads.

Be aware invisible ice may be present on the roadway.

"Black ice" is virtually impossible to see before you drive over it. You may feel comfortable driving at normal speeds if you don't see any ice on the road, but you may want to reduce your speed if it's possible ice is present, to avoid speeding over this clear ice.

Never drive distracted, including when it snows.

Distracted driving – including texting, personal grooming or fidgeting with navigation devices behind the wheel – is always dangerous. When it is snowing, your attention and care is essential to avoiding a crash. By placing your electronics safely out of sight and taking care to keep your hands, eyes and mind on the task of driving, you can do your part to prevent car wrecks in poor weather.