Thursday, November 14, 2013

Drive Safely This Winter

Winter came a little early this year. Snowfall in some parts of the country earlier this week reminds us that along with chilly temperatures, winter weather brings slippery roads, snow and more traffic. Although it is not officially winter for another month, Illinois Department of Transportation, along with other agencies across the nation, are reminding motorists to start taking extra precaution. These tips will help drivers familiarize themselves with how to drive more safely this winter season:

Slow down
. Reduce your driving speed and increase your following distance. Remember to plan for longer commute times. 

Maintain your vehicle. Cold weather can cause tires to deflate. Make sure to keep your tires in good condition and properly inflated. In addition, check for broken taillights and headlights, as these things may make you less visible to other commuters. 

Clean off your car completely. Ice and snow interfere with your vision. Take the time to make sure your windshield, windows and headlights are free of snow, dirt and grime. This not only helps you see others, but cleaning your headlights also helps others see you.

Know how to recover from skids. If you find yourself skidding, do not brake. Instead, steer your vehicle gently in the direction of the skid.

Follow the weatherman. Check the traffic and know current weather conditions in advance. These things will help you prepare before you get behind the wheel. 

Practice safe driving all winter long. You never know when you may encounter wet or icy roads, don’t be caught off guard.

Keep an emergency kit your vehicle. The kit should include an ice scraper and snow brush, a first-aid kit, battery starter cables, food and water, a blanket, a flashlight, warning devices such as flares or triangles, a small bag of salt or cat litter (for use as a traction aid), and a cell phone. Should you get stuck, stay in your vehicle, stay warm and wait for assistance.