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Safe Driving in Bad Weather

In bad weather conditions, we must pay particular attention to our cars and driving habits.

One of the simplest tips to keep in mind is to make sure that the windows and mirrors are always clean. Good visibility is always important, but even more so during the winter months when road conditions can make driving extremely hazardous. Scraping a small patch to see through the windshield isn't good enough. Before you drive, remove ice and snow from all of your vehicle's windows and mirrors. Some municipalities even require that you remove all snow and ice from your vehicle before driving in order to minimize the risk of injuring others with flying debris.

Be sure that your windshield wipers are in good condition and working properly. The summer has a tendency to dry-out wiper blades, making them brittle enough to crack and come apart. Donít wait until you get caught in a rain or snowstorm to change your wipers.

Be sure to check the fluid levels, tires, hoses and belts at least once a month. The transition from summer to winter places a large strain on many parts of your vehicle. Be sure that the radiator is properly filled with an anti-freeze solution.

Also be aware of the tire wear and amount of pressure that you maintain in your tires. If your tires are worn and low on tread, they will not perform adequately on slick roads.

Once you have readied your vehicle for winter, keep in mind a few basic driving tips to help keep your driving excursions safe.

One of the most basic tips is to minimize distractions while you are driving. This includes the use of cell phones, eating while driving, changing CDís, etc.

Once you are driving, RELAX. You will have better control of your vehicle with smooth steering, gradual acceleration, and by squeezing gently on the brakes. Smooth application of the brakes is especially important while driving on slick surfaces. Be consistent with all the controls, the vehicle will tend to respond more predictably.

Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and reduce your speed while traveling on slick roadways.

Although driving in the winter can sometimes be hazardous, it can be made safer if we follow these simple pointers. Likewise with your driving -- if you're going to be rushed or in a hurry, you're better off not driving at all. Better to be safe than sorry.

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