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Driving Tips for the Holiday Season

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 19-Nov-2007

The holiday season is a period of increased highway travel for many metro area families, and also a season of unpredictable inclement winter weather.  Before you take to the roads this winter, take time to familiarize yourself with the following winter driving safety tips, courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

 Inspect Your Tires:

  • "Check tire pressure and make sure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer’s suggested PSI (pounds per square inch) of air pressure, which is listed in your owner’s manual and on a label inside the driver’s door.
  • Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle at all times and check pressure when tires are ‘cold’ — meaning they haven’t been driven on for at least three hours.
  • Look closely at your tread and replace tires with uneven wear or insufficient tread. Tread should be at least 1/16 of an inch or greater on all tires."
  • Know Your Car:

  • "Practice cold weather driving when your area gets snow — but not on a main road! Until you’ve sharpened your winter weather driving skills and know how your vehicle handles in snowy conditions, it’s best to practice in an empty lot in full daylight.
  • Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, sufficiently increase your following distance so you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.
  • A word of caution about braking: Know what kind of brakes your vehicle has and how to use them properly. In general, if you have anti-lock brakes, apply firm pressure, if you have non anti-lock brakes, pump the brakes gently.
  • If you find yourself in a skid, stay calm and ease your foot off the gas while carefully steering in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go. This procedure, known as ‘steering into the skid,’ will bring the back end of your car in line with the front."
  • Plan Your Travel and Route:

  • "Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic; plan to leave early if necessary.
  • Don’t rush! Allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.
  • Familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.
  • Keep your gas tank close to full. If you get stuck in a traffic jam or in snow, you might need more fuel to get home or keep warm. Note: To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when stuck in snow, be sure to keep your vehicle’s exhaust pipe clear of snow and ice, run your vehicle only in the open with the windows partially down, and run it only long enough to keep warm.
  • If road conditions are hazardous, avoid driving if possible. Wait until road and weather conditions improve before venturing out in your vehicle."
  • Stock Your Vehicle:

  • "Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic; plan to leave early if necessary.
  • Don’t rush! Allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.
  • Familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.
  • Keep your gas tank close to full. If you get stuck in a traffic jam or in snow, you might need more fuel to get home or keep warm. Note: To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when stuck in snow, be sure to keep your vehicle’s exhaust pipe clear of snow and ice, run your vehicle only in the open with the windows partially down, and run it only long enough to keep warm.
  • If road conditions are hazardous, avoid driving if possible. Wait until road and weather conditions improve before venturing out in your vehicle."
  • Learn What To Do In A Winter Emergency:

  • "Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself.
  • Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light turned on.
  • To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods with the windows up or in an enclosed space. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any
    snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm!"
  • Previously on the DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:

    The law firm of Regan Zambri & Long extends best wishes for a safe and happy holiday travel season to all of our readers.

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