As a major winter storm descends on eastern Pennsylvania, AAA reminds motorists that roads could be snow-covered during the morning commute. In addition, snow can become a hazard if it becomes dislodged from the vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian, with the potential of injury or death.

“Spending a few extra minutes cleaning the ice and snow off your car in the morning can make your commute less stressful and safer for everyone,” says Theresa Podguski, Director of Legislative Affairs, AAA East Central. “Ice and snow interferes with your vision and can become dangerous projectiles that damage other vehicles and affect the visibility of drivers near your automobile.”

AAA urges these additional preparations for driving on icy and snowy roads:

Make sure the battery and charging system are in good condition. Cold weather places high demands on vehicle electrical systems.

Have the brakes inspected, and check that they apply smoothly and evenly to help prevent wheels from locking when the roads get slippery.

Ensure proper tire inflation. The air pressure in tires will drop 1-2 psi for every 10 degrees drop in outside temperature. Under-inflation can reduce traction and damage tires.

Choose narrow tires over wide tires for best snow traction. Wide tires “float” on top of snow, while narrow tires cut through it for better traction.

Make sure the engine coolant provides adequate anti-freeze protection. A 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water provides protection to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (-34 degrees Celsius).

Visibility is very important in adverse weather conditions. Replace wipers that streak the windshield, and consider using winter wiper blades that have rubber covers to prevent snow and ice buildup from impairing effectiveness. Fill the windshield washer reservoir with an antifreeze washer solvent.

Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to minimize condensation that can lead to gas line freeze-up.

Carry a winter driving kit for use in the event of an emergency. The kit should include tire chains (if legal in the area driven), a small bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter), a small snow shovel, a snow brush, traction mats, a flashlight with new batteries, window washing solvent, an ice scraper, a cloth or roll of paper towels, jumper cables, a blanket, warning devices (flares or triangles), a charged cellular phone, drinking water, a pair of gloves and extra clothes.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 81 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million.