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Be extra careful when traveling by vehicle until winter is over

The recent Polar Vortex phenomenon has made many travelers wary of venturing out in the cold. During one day earlier this month, all 50 states in the union experienced freezing temperatures and weather forecasters have predicted that similar drops in average temperatures could occur again this winter. As a result, motorists have good reason to be concerned. After all, car accidents inspired by cold weather conditions can be frightening, costly and can cause significant injury.

If you plan to travel anywhere during periods of time in which the temperature is either hovering around the freezing point or has dropped below it, it is important that you heed several straightforward driving tips in order to better ensure your own safety and the safety of any other travelers you may encounter.

First, try to avoid traveling in poor weather conditions. Sometimes traveling during storms and black ice conditions is unavoidable. However, if you can remain where you are until conditions improve, you will certainly remain safe.

Second, avoid speeding any time ice could be forming or already present on highways and surface streets. If you are speeding and hit a patch of ice, you will be much less likely to brake effectively and in time to avoid a collision than you would if you were driving at speeds safe for conditions.

Finally, make sure that your vehicle is properly maintained. Your lights, brakes and tires in particular will be your first lines of defense against avoidable accidents in winter weather if they are properly maintained.

Source: Cars.com, “NHTSA Bids You Safe Travels With Winter Driving Tips,” Matt Schmitz, Dec. 12, 2013

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