winter driving tips
Be prepared for freezing temperatures and unpredictable weather before you head out.
Before you drive
Keep your vehicle's fuel tank at least a quarter full at all times, but preferably at least half full. This will prevent condensation from building up and freezing in your vehicle's fuel line. While you're at it, keep a few bottles of dry gasoline in your vehicle and use it before particularly cold nights.
Keep a spare winter hat, gloves and a blanket in your vehicle in case you become stuck.
Keep a First Aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables and snow shovel handy. Make sure you know how to use jumper cables properly. Keep the instructions in your glove compartment or with the cables.
To help your vehicle's rear wheels grip and to prevent your vehicle from fishtailing, put a cinder block, bag of cat litter or other heavy load in the back of your vehicle.
Keep an ice scraper handy. Better yet, have two just in case.
A snow brush does wonders for clearing snow off your car's windows, hood, roof and trunk.
Clear all snow and ice off your vehicle. Snow left on your vehicle's roof not only will hurt your vehicle's gas mileage considerably, it is a hazard to vehicles behind you when it falls off. Be particularly thorough clearing snow and debris off windows and lights. Remember: Although you may be able to see inside your car fine, it takes only a small amount of ice to impair your vision considerably -- especially at night when the ice redirects lights in all directions.
Replace your windshield wipers every season and make sure they are not frozen to your windshield.
To conserve fuel and to avoid losing control of your vehicle on ice, accelerate slowly.
Anticipate sliding on ice: Brake softly well in advance of stop signs and stop lights.
If you begin losing control of your vehicle and your vehicle is a front-wheel drive, take your foot off the accelerator and gradually turn the steering wheel in the direction you want to take the car. Do not use the brakes or accelerate. If you are driving a rear-wheel drive vehicle, gently turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid.
Don't travel too fast.
Approach bridges and overpasses with caution. Remember: They freeze before the ground does.
Watch out for the "other guy." You may be a conscientious driver, but that's no guarantee others are.
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