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5 tips for safe winter driving

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by Neal Goulet on Dec 15, 2014

Winter officially arrives on Dec. 21. The good news is the amount of daily sunlight then will start to increase.

The bad news is that winter is just beginning, and another snowy season is expected. AccuWeather anticipates that the brunt of it will arrive in January and February.

Snow and ice make winter driving particularly dangerous. Being prepared for what’s to come is the best way to prevent motor vehicle injuries.

Here are 5 tips inspired by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

1. Maintain your car: Check your battery, tire treads, windshield wipers and antifreeze; keep windows clear; put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir.

2. Have on hand: Cell phone, flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material for tire traction (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (flares) and blankets. For longer trips, bring food and water.

3. Stay in your car: If you get stuck or stalled, stay in your car and don’t overexert yourself. Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and shine the dome light. If you run your car, do it just long enough to stay warm and make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow.

4. Plan your route: Check the weather and leave early if necessary, be familiar with maps/directions, and let others know your planned route and expected arrival time.

5. Practice cold weather driving: During daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot. Remember these rules:
• Steer into a skid
• Stomp on antilock brakes, pump on non-antilock brakes
• Stopping distances are longer on ice
• Don’t idle long with the windows up or in an enclosed space

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s best to stay put as much as possible and be safe with your family.

A warm home can be so delightful.

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