Safe Driving Tips for Winter

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  • The year's most hazardous driving season has already made an early appearance. Motorists across the country can expect to face some tricky driving conditions over the next few months.

    Preparation is key to driving safely during winter months. Many accidents occur because motorists are simply not prepared for the kind of hazardous and challenging driving conditions that they are likely to face in January and February. The AAA Foundation has tips for driving safely this winter.

    Make sure that your car is primed for winter weather. The batteries are very often the first to go in extreme cold, and are under great pressure in low temperatures. Get your batteries tested by professionals right now, and if necessary, install a new one. Also, make sure that all the cables and terminals are rust-free.

    Ensure that your tires are properly inflated and have excellent tread. Check the tire pressure in all the tires, including the spare, and measure the amount of tread remaining on each tire.

    When you do encounter snow or ice, be sure to completely clear all windows. Also, brush any snow off the vehicle before driving as it can become a road hazard for other motorists if it flies off your car during driving.

    Always have a winter emergency kit in your car. The kit should contain jumper cables, a blanket, snacks and water, extra clothes, a flashlight, extra batteries, sand, first aid supplies, a hat and scarf, and flares. These items were critical last year when thousands of motorists were stranded on Atlanta roads during an unexpected ice storm. Also, make sure that your gasoline tank is filled up at least half full at all times.

    Leave plenty of space while driving between your car and the vehicle in front. Leave a gap of at least 8 to 10 seconds to allow for emergency braking on slippery roads.

    Avoid using cruise control as much as possible. These features are designed for driving on dry roads, and could increase your chances of losing control of the vehicle in slippery weather. Keep a fully-charged cellular phone and your local wrecker telephone number in your vehicle at all times.

    If you're driving alone, watch your local weather alerts, and if the weather promises to be bad, look for alternate routes. Make sure that people you know are aware of your destination and your route.

    Accidents that occur on icy and slippery roads are preventable. If you have suffered injuries in an accident, you could be eligible for compensation for your losses, which typically includes lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. Talk to a qualified attorney as soon as possible after your accident to preserve important information and evidence.

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