GAINESVILLE - As icing began to occur in parts of Hall County at mid-morning today, the sheriff's office issued a set of winter driving tips:
*If you must travel, be mindful not only of the ice that you can see on the roadways, but be especially aware of "black ice" that is not immediately noticeable. The numerous bridges and overpasses in the county are all prime areas for this to occur.
*Decrease your speed. Higher speeds naturally decrease the time you'll have to react to a problem, in addition to worsening the effects of a collision.
*Increase your distance. Slick roadways are very unforgiving to sudden braking. Maintain enough distance between your car and the vehicle ahead to avoid a collision if you start to slide.
*Don't panic if you do start to slide. Gently apply the brake, and if your vehicle begins to slip to one side or the other, turn into the direction of the slide.
*Focus on the task of driving. Leave the phone in your pocket and give your full attention to the road. Distracted driving is dangerous at any time, but especially when roadways are slick.
*Wear your seat belt. The chances of a collision are much greater during inclement weather. Increase the odds that your car will be the only thing requiring repair by wearing your seat belt. Besides, it's the law in Georgia: buckle up.
*Be prepared. If you find that you must travel, be ready to deal with a roadside emergency. Be sure to have a full tank of gas, a fully charged mobile phone, adequate clothing for the conditions, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and a small amount of food and water. Emergency crews are likely to be very busy and it could take some time to reach you if you become stranded.