Follow These Tips to Drive Safely in the Winter

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Driving in winter presents serious challenges whether you live in a city where snow is part of everyday life or if you only see flakes once every few years.

One of the biggest problems is that people are unprepared or overconfident, but by following a few simple steps, you can make sure that you and your loved ones are protected.

Before you ever start driving, you should make sure your car is up to the task. Check the antifreeze, tire pressure and battery. Make sure your car, especially all your windows and headlights, are clear from snow.

Always bring warm clothes, a first-aid kit, blanket, sunglasses and a fully charged cell phone in case you become stranded.

The biggest cause of accidents in winter is driving too fast for the conditions. You need to slow down when driving in winter conditions even if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle. Sudden braking, acceleration or swerving can cause even the most reliable vehicle to slide out of control. Give yourself extra time when you leave so that you do not feel rushed.

Keep room between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Remember that traction is greatly reduced on slick roads, and if another vehicle is forced to stop for any reason, you need plenty of room to stop your vehicle.

Never use cruise control in winter weather. If you start to hydroplane or slide a little, you need to be able to back off the accelerator to allow the vehicle to regain control. If you are using cruise control, that will not happen.

Of course, the best way to avoid a collision is to simply stay home or at least change your route to take main roads. If the weather and road conditions worsen while you are driving, do not be afraid to find a spot where you can pull off the road and wait until the conditions improve.

Driving in snow can cause extra fatigue because your senses are heightened, so avoid getting tired. Getting rest and witching drivers more frequently on long trips can help.

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