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Tips for Driving in Winter Weather

Be it snow, sleet, ice, or rain, winter weather can wreak havoc on driving conditions.  Heavy precipitation can quickly affect visibility, while snow and ice can create surfaces that are dangerous to pedestrians, let alone motorists.  In concert, these forces of nature command the respect of drivers.  Those who fail to take caution not only endanger their own lives, but those of everyone around them.

To avoid a dangerous situation, exercise great caution when navigating roads in wintry conditions.

  • When roads are slick, be sure to reduce your speed accordingly; the posted speed limit may be entirely too fast during a snowstorm.

  • Be sure to increase the distance between your car and the car in front of you, as icy roads can compromise your vehicle’s ability to stop.

  • Obey all traffic signs and utilize turn signals.  After all, other drivers are facing the same dangerous conditions.

Sometimes, however, adjusting your driving habits may not be enough.  In addition to driving slower and braking earlier, there are several measures you can take to ensure your vehicle is as winter-ready as possible.

  • Check your tires for tread.  Bald tires are far less effective on icy roads than those with deep tread.

  • Make sure your windshield wipers are operating correctly.  Streaky or ineffective windshield wipers can decrease visibility and increase your probability of causing an accident,

  • Have your brake pads inspected.  Brakes that work well in dry conditions may not always hold up when roads are icy and tires are slick.

In addition, be sure to know how your specific vehicle handles different road conditions.  For example, rear-wheel drive vehicles are far less effective than their front and all-wheel counterparts.  Should you own such a vehicle, be sure to exercise heightened caution when venturing out into the elements.

Most of all, use common sense.  When the weather is poor, a driver’s highest degree of diligence is required.  If you are able to follow the simple steps outlined above, it will go a long way to preventing a potentially devastating accident.

 

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