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Ten tips for safe winter travel

Icy Road ConditionsThe winter season can be one of the busiest and most dangerous times of the year for drivers.

Staying informed and knowing what to do in an emergency situation may save yourself and your vehicle from danger.

Here are ten tips for travelling safely during the colder months:

  1. Know how to recover from skids. It’s easy to lock up your wheels when braking on a road covered with ice or snow. If you begin to skid or slide, take your foot off of the brake or accelerator and slowly turn into the skid, taking careful consideration to avoid oversteering. Check out Ford’s educational video for more information on skid recovery.
  2. Put together an emergency kit. This can be especially helpful if you spend a lot of time in your vehicle, or if you plan on taking a road trip. This kit should include items to help you regain traction such as rock salt and sand, blankets to keep you warm, batteries, flashlights, water, food, and emergency flares. It’s also smart to keep a small snow shovel and ice scraper in your car to remove debris from your vehicle. For more information on a proper winter weather kit, visit FEMA’s website.
  3. Make sure your vehicle is in peak operating condition. Make regular visits to your automotive facility for inspections and tune-ups. You’ll want to ensure that your heater and defrosters are working properly, and that you have the proper antifreeze levels to avoid any issues.
  4. Accelerate and decelerate slowly to avoid losing traction. Put plenty of distance between you and the car in front of you. And remember: it takes longer to slow down on icy or snowy roads.
  5. Don’t power through hills. Applying that extra acceleration on a slick road may cause your wheels to spin. Try to gain a bit of speed before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the top of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down as slowly as possible.
  6. Keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times. If you become stranded, it may not be easy to retrieve fuel.
  7. Make sure your tires are in peak condition. Ensuring you have the proper air levels and adequate tread can be vital in ensuring safe winter driving. Consider getting all-weather radials or snow tires.
  8. Check the weather conditions before you leave. Plot the best route for travel and get a plan in mind before heading out the door.
  9. Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition and top off your washer fluid. Visibility can create major issues for winter driving. Make sure you can see clearly through your windshield.
  10. Most importantly, stay home if you don’t need to go out. Although you may be a seasoned winter driver, others on the road may not be. Don’t put yourself in harms way.

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