7 things to know before driving in the snow

Consider staying indoors unless you absolutely must leave.

ByABC News
January 17, 2018, 1:38 PM

— -- Winter weather is sweeping through the nation this week, including snow and ice in swaths of the southern United States not accustomed to slick roads.

ABC News meteorologists report that seven inches of snow fell on parts of Tennessee. And citizens of Greenwood, Mississippi, endured the coldest day there since 1989, when the temperature dropped to 5 degrees.

Local governments with the equipment are working to clear the roads to get schools and businesses back in gear while officials urge people to remain inside and off the roads.

Automakers are installing technology into their vehicles to help drivers cope with these winter weather conditions. Among other automakers, Chevrolet has installed Electronic Stability Control. This mode allows the car's computer to control each wheel, strategically braking to get the car going straight again.

Some vehicles, including a Ford model shown to ABC News' David Kerley, helps the driver on slick hills with their Driver Assist System to retain traction. Older models may not have these safety features.

ABC News has collected some tips for driving in slick conditions.

1. Consider staying indoors. Even if you are a skilled driver in the snow, not everyone is, and they could be a danger to you.

2. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. A gentle press on the gas can be one way of regaining traction, but remember it takes longer to stop in the snow so allow plenty of room in front of you.

3. Mind the hill. Make sure your path is completely clear and gain some momentum on a flat surface before taking on the incline. Stopping on it can be dangerous because you can roll backwards.

4. If you find yourself going into a spin on snow, gently turn into the direction you're spinning and lightly press the brake. Steering into the spin seems counter-intuitive, but it will help your vehicle grip the ground again and regain control.

5. Power up. Before the storm hits, fill up the gas tank. And before departing, fully charge your phone and bring it with you: You never know when you may have to call for help or how long it could take.

6. Always check the exhaust pipe. Make sure it isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment.

7. Don’t overexert yourself. If you get stuck, call for help immediately. People get hurt trying to push themselves out of the snow. First responders are there to help.

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