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Winter Driving – Tips for Staying Safe on the Road

December 2017

Minnesotans know that winter driving presents its own unique set of challenges and safety hazards. Prudent motorists that value their personal and financial well-being can take precautions to manage risk. Here are a few tips that will help keep you safe behind the wheel this winter.

Keep an Emergency Kit in the Trunk

If a breakdown or an accident occurs, having a few key emergency items handy will be a godsend. At a minimum, you should stow a shovel, road flares, rock salt and jumper cables somewhere in the vehicle.

Drive for the Current Conditions

Depending on how bad the roads happen to be on any given day, driving at the speed limit can be incredibly hazardous. Drive at a speed that you feel comfortable with based on the state of the roads.

Watch the Weather Report Regularly

One of the easiest ways to prevent a winter fender-bender is to avoid driving in inclement weather when possible. Keep a close eye on the local 10-day weather forecast so that you can plan your commutes and travels around upcoming storms.

Distance Yourself From Other Drivers

When the roads are slick, the inattentiveness of fellow motorists can be a serious threat to life and limb. Always maintain adequate following distances between your vehicle and others. Avoid rush hour traffic by leaving work late and arriving early.

Cut Down on Driver Distractions

Reaction time is doubly important when you’re driving in a squall with limited visibility. Avoid using cruise control unless road conditions are perfect. Keep your cell phone off and your eyes on the pavement at all times during a storm.

Drill Yourself on Evasive Maneuvers

Every automobile reacts differently in a skid depending on model and vehicular upkeep. Find an empty parking lot with a layer of snow and practice braking procedures to minimize the odds of a crash in a real-life scenario.

Buy a Set of Quality Winter Tires

One of the best ways to end up in a ditch is driving around on bald summer tires in the middle of a blizzard. At a minimum, your car or truck should be equipped with all-season tires.

Adequately Maintain Your Vehicle

Ultimately, a poorly maintained automobile is more likely to be involved in a bad wreck when the snow flies. Pay special attention to steering and suspension components that might fail suddenly like tie rod ends, CV joints and ball joints.

Don’t Make Bad Situations Worse

If you experience a breakdown or a collision, intelligently managing the fallout is critically important. Always pull off the road completely if you can and put on your emergency flashers. Stay with the vehicle until the authorities arrive.

What to Do If You Have an Accident

Winter driving has risks that can affect even the most careful drivers. If you or a loved one is injured in a wreck, contact the experienced personal injury firm Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben. We will take care of the legal issues, and you can focus on your recovery. Call (612) 377-7777 or toll-free at 1 (800) 752-4265 for a private, free consultation.

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