Every day, about 102 drivers are killed in motor vehicle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And, with inclement winter weather making driving conditions more hazardous, that number could worsen. For that reason, be sure to follow these six tips whenever you drive this winter:
- Have your vehicle serviced: The cold can have an adverse effect on your vehicle. Before the temperature drops, take your vehicle to an auto repair shop to have the battery, tire treads, coolant hoses and wiper blades inspected.
- Assemble a winter emergency kit: In case you get stranded on the side of the road, you will want to have an emergency kit on hand. Your kit should include the following:
- An electric flashlight, spare batteries and flares
- Hand warmers and a thick, heavy blanket (ideally wool)
- A shovel and ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Jug of washer fluid
- Plan ahead: Before you get behind the wheel, check the weather forecast. If possible, prepare an alternate route in case of inclement weather or poor road conditions.
- Know your vehicle: Each vehicle handles winter weather conditions differently. Consequently, you should be aware of your vehicle’s capabilities—such as its ability to stop as well as how it handles driving on snow, ice or wet roadways.
- Tidy up: Before you get behind the wheel, be sure to clean off any snow or ice that may have accumulated on your vehicle—especially on the headlights and taillights as well as the side mirrors.
- Drive smart: Driving in winter weather requires you to adjust certain rules of the road. Some tips to keep in mind:
- Speed limits are for dry, clear driving conditions. So, it is okay to drive slower than the posted limit.
- With suspect road conditions, it is advisable to at least double the standard following distance.
- To help ensure that other motorists are able to see your vehicle, keep your headlights turned on—even during the day.
By following these tips, you should be prepared for driving in any winter weather conditions.
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