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Cold Weather Driving Tips

Winter weather isn't always bad to drive in depending on where you live, but in some instances it's dangerous. If you live anywhere temperatures drop below freezing and weather conditions impair roads and driving abilities, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the most common driving tips for cold weather excursions. The same goes for anyone who doesn't live where winters are cold but plans on taking a trip that includes cold-weather driving. Winter is beautiful, but it's capable of hiding many dangers on the road. Know what to look for to keep your family and everyone else on the road safe.

Open the Garage Before You Turn on the Car

One of the deadliest mistakes people make in the winter is starting the car in a closed garage. It's normal to want to warm up the car while you're still in the house, but this causes toxic gases to fill the air. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is very common in enclosed garages when the car is on, and you could still be in danger even if you aren't in the car while it's running in an enclosed garage. Open the door and pull the car out before you start it in the cold weather.

Avoid Using Cruise Control

This is great advice for anyone who drives in any slippery conditions, and not just for people who drive in the winter. Cruise control can be a nice feature to have, but it's too dangerous to use when the roads are icy, wet, or covered in snow. You need all the control of your vehicle in this type of weather, and using cruise control often provides drivers with a false sense of security. It can slow down your reaction time when your foot is not already on the gas. It can also cause your car to go into a spin faster than when you're driving yourself.

Keep an Eye on Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is always important, but it's especially important in the snow. Your tires need the right type of pressure to keep you going and to prevent an accident. Your tires might not be the same as someone else's, so it's important to check with your vehicle manufacturer to learn the proper tire pressure level for the specific tires on your specific vehicle. You can check your driving manual, or you can rely on the tire pressure monitoring system in your car for this information.

Keep an Emergency Kit in the Car

Driving in the cold weather is dangerous. You could end up stranded or stuck for a long period of time, and experts recommend you stay in your car until help arrives. Trying to get out and walk to help might cause you to lose your car in hazardous and snowy conditions. You'll need an emergency kit with a flashlight, a radio, a charged cell phone, batteries, water, nonperishable food items, a blanket, and a first aid kit. These make it possible for you to stay with your car and stay warm. Never leave, but always use these items so you are safe waiting on help to arrive. If you can avoid driving in dangerous winter road conditions, please do so. The best way to prevent an accident is to stay home when the roads aren't safe.

Keep More Space Between Cars

When you're learning to drive, you're taught to keep around four seconds distance between you and the car in front of you. When the winter weather is bad, double that time. You don't want to end up hitting someone from behind when they slam on their brakes and you slam on yours only to end up in a spin sending you into their car.

Driving in the cold isn't a problem when you're cautious and reasonable. Stay off the phone, watch the road, and stay home if you can when the weatherman tells you it's not safe to be out. Winter weather is fun during the holidays, but it's not fun if you're injured in an accident. 

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