Preparing Your Car For Winter And Winter Driving Guidelines
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Driving in the winter presents numerous serious (and underappreciated) hazards. Proper preparation, good judgment, and vigilance can help you steer clear of accidents this winter, but you can never really anticipate the actions of other drivers. Bearing in mind the evergreen advice taught by the Boy Scouts and others to “be prepared,” here are a few tips for a safer winter driving season:
Have your car professionally serviced early in the season. Yes, it’s already January. But it’s not too late: Old Man Winter has plenty of surprises for us yet. Servicing should identify any issues that could become worse in frigid conditions. Get your vehicle’s fluids topped off, and replace your windshield wiper blades.
Invest in snow tires. If you live in a region of the mid-Atlantic that sees heavy snowfall, snow tires are a fantastic investment. They not only preserve the lifespan of your regular tires, but also afford you an extra measure of safety on wet or frozen roads.
Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. This kit should include road flares in case of an accident and survival gear for an emergency, such as a backup battery for your cell phone, a flashlight, and some food and water.
Practice defensive driving. Unfortunately, winter weather doesn’t inspire caution in many drivers, so do your part to make the road a little safer by adhering to posted speed limits and the traffic laws in the area. If you happen to encounter unsafe, erratic, or aggressive drivers, don’t engage get sucked into road rage situations. Instead, do your best to avoid them. Once you’ve pulled to a safe stop, consider reporting the situation to the police.
Don’t drive if you can help it. In an emergency, you may have to brave the sleet and snow, but if you can avoid driving during inclement weather, obviously do so. The fewer miles you log, the lower your risk for road mayhem.
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