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Winter Driving Safety Tips

The snow has finally begun to fall and winter driving is upon us. There are many simple tips that can help you to be safe as you drive in winter weather. One of the easiest ways to stay safe on the roads in winter is to allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Heading out the door with enough time to clear off your car, clean off your windshield wipers, let the defrost begin to work and the car to warm up can make a big difference. But more importantly, having the time to move at a safe slow speed on slushy, snowy or icy roads will help you to arrive at your destination safely.

Utah drivers need to become experts at driving in the snow. If you are a new driver or are new to the area, here are some great tips from AAA to help you drive safely and confidently in the snow.

"Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don't try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning - nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.

The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

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 just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.

Don't stop going up a hill. There's nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

Stay home. If you really don't have to go out, don't. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don't tempt fate: If you don't have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors."

Hopefully, these simple strategies will keep you safe on the road this winter. But not everyone follows these rules. If you or someone you know is injured in an automobile accident this winter, contact our office for a free consultation. We can help!

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