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Winter Driving Tips

Severe weather can be both frightening and dangerous for travelers. Winter storms, bad weather and sloppy road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter, according to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. 

Cold Weather Driving Tips

  • Keep your fuel tankat least half full at all times
  • Tires should be properly inflated and have plenty of tread
  • Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car: extra food and water, warm clothing, flashlight, blankets, medications and first aid kit
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface

Tips For Driving In The Snow

  • Increase your following distance to 5-6 seconds
  • Drive slowly – adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
  • Stay home – only go out if necessary. Even if you drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will only make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly. 
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill, when possible.

If You Get Stuck In The Snow

  • Stay with your vehicle. Your vehicle provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm – you may lose sight of the vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
  • Be Visible – tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna of your vehicle or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. 
  • Conserve fuel – only run the engine and heater long enough to remove the chill to help conserve fuel.
  • Don’t over exert yourself – when digging out, listen to your body and stop if you become tired.
  • Clear the exhaust pipe – make sure it isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked pipe could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment while the engine is running.
  • Stay warm – use whatever’s available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps. 

Always be sure to contact your insurance agent when an accident has occurred and document with notes and photos.

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