Driving in the winter: Tips that can keep you safe

A winter landscape is beautiful to behold -- unless you're stuck driving in it. With much of the United States expecting snow in the coming weeks, it seems like an ideal time to review the tips that can keep you safe on the road.

Here are the things you need to remember as you head out into the snowy weather:

  • Prep your vehicle: Properly inflated tires with a good tread are essential for safety. Turn your cruise control off for the season and make sure that your brakes have been checked recently. Finally, make sure your lights (head and tail) are working properly.
  • Prep yourself: Don't head out in bad weather if you aren't feeling alert. Fatigued driving is deadly driving at any time of the year -- but it's worse when the roads are slippery and wet. If you're just struggling to wake up, grab a cup of coffee before you head out.
  • Drive slowly: This is the number one tip to remember on snow and ice. You need to give yourself twice the normal travel time so that you aren't rushing. Accelerate slowly, brake slowly and keep double the usual distance between your vehicle and other vehicles on the road.
  • Don't stop: If you can slow down enough to avoid fully stopping at a traffic signal, do it. You run a bigger risk of spinning out by stopping, and it's much harder to get moving again.
  • Brake carefully: If you have antilock brakes (and you probably do), you don't need to pump your brakes in the snow. Just press slowly and evenly with the ball of your foot to avoid spins.

Unfortunately, you may still encounter trouble on the road even if you follow all of these tips. Other drivers don't always take the right precautions in the snow -- especially on their morning commute if they were unprepared for the extra time it was going to take. If you end up in a car accident due to another driver's inexperience in the snow or general negligence, find out more about your right to compensation for your injuries.

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