Drive safe this winter

To minimize the dangers of winter driving, the State Patrol offers the following common-sense safety tips:

. Always wear your safety belt. You and your passengers absolutely need this protection even in lowspeed “fender-bender” crashes that frequently occur on slick roads.

. Don’t use your cruise control in wintry conditions. Even on roads that appear clear, there may be slippery spots, which can cause a loss of traction and a spinout if the vehicle is in the cruise-control mode.

. Watch for slippery bridge decks. They ice up faster than adjacent pavement.

. Look farther up the road than you normally do. If vehicles ahead of you are swerving or show other signs of loss of traction, you should slow down and take extra precautions.

. Brake early. It takes much longer to stop in adverse conditions.

. Don’t pump anti-lock brakes. With anti-lock brakes, the correct braking method is to “stomp and steer.”

. Don’t be overconfident about the traction and stopping distance of four-wheel drive vehicles, which generally won’t grip an icy road any better than two-wheel drive vehicles.

. Avoid cutting in front of large trucks, which take longer than automobiles to slow down or stop.

. Leave plenty of room for snowplows. You must stay back at least 200 feet from the rear of a snowplow.

. Obey the Move Over Law, which requires drivers to shift lanes or slow down in order to provide a safety zone for emergency and maintenance vehicles on the side of a road with their warning lights flashing.

. If your vehicle slides off the road, gets stuck, or becomes disabled, stay inside it if at all possible with your seat belt fastened until a tow truck or other help arrives. If you’re inside your vehicle and buckled up, you have protection against out-of-control vehicles. There’s no protection outside your vehicle.


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