Every year, winter weather is a factor in thousands of preventable motor vehicle collisions. Defensive driving and adjusting driving SPEED to the road conditions are key. It’s also important to recognize hazards on the road and leave plenty of time to react and respond so you remain in control of your vehicle.

Prepare your vehicle in advance and make sure to keep it stocked with emergency supplies.

Take care of seasonal maintenance in the fall.

Invest in a full set of winter (ICE) tires and keep them on your car for the duration of the season. Winter (ICE) tires are not just for snow, they are designed to perform better and give you improved traction and stopping in cold temperatures.

Check tire air pressure frequently, as it decreases in cold weather.

Keep essential supplies in your vehicle – a first aid kit, LED flashlight, blanket, small shovel, sand/kitty litter (for traction), booster cables, extra windshield fluid, a snow brush/ice scraper, an extra set of mittens or gloves, warm hat and boots and a couple 24 hour candles  and a cigarette lighter, (will keep you from freezing to death) and if you need to use them for heat make sure they are on a fire proof surface and keep your window down 1/2 inch to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Keep your gas tank at least 1/2 full at all times throughout winter.

Carry a fully-charged cell phone and use it only when safe. Do not use while driving unless your device is hands-free.

Always let snowplows and Emergency Services through.

Listen to the weather report before you head out and beware of conditions such as blizzards and black ice, which are especially treacherous to drive in.

Avoid driving in bad weather whenever possible, particularly when visibility and road conditions are compromised.

Make sure you can see properly and be seen by others by clearing your car of all snow and ice, and turning your lights on when visibility is poor.
Clear all windows, lights, mirrors, and the roof before you set out.

Never pass a snowplow—stay well back for your own safety and to allow them to do their job.
It is extremely dangerous to pass either between or around snowplows, and the road surface is always better behind the plow than in front of it.

If you get stuck or stranded, don’t panic. Stay with your vehicle for safety and warmth, and call for help. If you do not have a cell phone make sure you lift the hood of your car, and if alone do not open the door for anyone except the Police, Fire dept or EMS.

Slow down and make sure to control skids properly.
It takes longer to stop on snow-covered or icy roads—reduce your speed and leave ample distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

Allow extra travel time to your destination and extra time and space to change lanes and turn safely.

Slow down enough to avoid any abrupt turns or stops, which can result in a skid.
In a skid, drivers need to act contrary to their instincts, steer into the skid and accelerate to regain control of their vehicle.

Take a Red Cross First Aid course to learn what to do if you find yourself in an emergency on the road.
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