safety tips

Top 10 Driver Distractions

Top 10 Driver Distractions

 

It’s no secret that for many people, multi-tasking doesn’t stop when they get behind the wheel. While taking a drive can still be an escape from the daily routine, people today seem more inclined to make auto travel an extension of home, work or play. That may be fine for a passenger, but as roads become busier and more congested, drivers should be finding ways to focus more attention on the road, not less.

Distraction can be disastrous. A joint study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that almost 80 percent of crashes occurred when the driver took his or her eyes away from the forward roadway.

Recent media coverage has focused attention on personal or in-vehicle electronics as a primary culprit in driver distraction, particularly with respect to cell phones. However, many common activities or behaviors are frequently the source of distraction-related accidents:

Top 10 Driver Distractions (source: NHTSA-VTTI Study):

  1. Using a wireless device, such as a cell phone
  2. Talking to and interacting with passengers
  3. Reaching for CDs, food, falling objects or other internal distractions
  4. Programming radio stations or tinkering with dashboard controls
  5. Using an electric razor, applying makeup or other personal hygiene-related actions
  6. Unwrapping a burger, opening a canned drink or other movements when eating at the wheel
  7. External distractions such as pointing out a funny billboard or pedestrian
  8. Talking or singing to oneself
  9. Smoking
  10. Daydreaming

Multi-tasking may be the only way to cope at work or at home, but it’s something to avoid behind the wheel. Remember, when driving, always Watch The Road.

Consumer electronics, used properly and in accordance with regulations and manufacturer guidelines, should make travel safer and assist drivers in keeping their eyes and attention on the road. For example, following voice prompts from your car navigation system is safer than trying to read a map or printed instruction. New back-up cameras and bumper sensors can make drivers more aware of pedestrians or obstacles that might not be visible. On long drives, listening to your latest digital music playlist or favorite satellite radio station will be more relaxing (and less distracting) than changing your radio station every few miles.

Just remember, if you want to use electronics when you drive, get them set up before you put the car in gear.

 
1SafeDriver.com

 

 

Older drivers: 7 Tips for Driver Safety

Older drivers: 7 Tips for Driver Safety

 

Driver safety requires more than understanding road signs and traffic laws. As you get older, you’ll likely notice physical changes that can make certain actions — such as turning your head to look for oncoming traffic or driving at night — more challenging. Still, older drivers can remain safe on the road. Consider seven tips for older drivers.

No. 1: Stay physically active

Staying physically active improves your strength and flexibility. In turn, physical activity can improve driver safety by making it easier to turn the steering wheel, look over your shoulder and make other movements while driving and parking. Look for ways to include physical activity in your daily routine. Walking is a great choice for many people. Stretching and strength training exercises are helpful for older drivers, too. If you’ve been sedentary, get your doctor’s OK before increasing your activity level.

No. 2: Schedule regular vision and hearing tests

Senses such as hearing and vision tend to decline with age. Impaired hearing can be a concern for older drivers by limiting the ability to hear an approaching emergency vehicle or train. And common age-related vision problems — such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration — can make it difficult to see clearly or drive at night.

Ask your doctor how often to schedule vision and hearing tests. Even if you think your hearing and vision are fine, stick to your doctor’s recommended exam schedule. Problems may be easier to correct if caught early.

No. 3: Manage any chronic conditions

Work with your doctor to manage any chronic conditions — especially those that might impact driver safety, such as diabetes or seizures. Follow your doctor’s instructions for managing your condition and staying safe behind the wheel. This might include adjusting your treatment plan or restricting your driving.

Of course, it’s equally important to know your medications. Many drugs can affect driver safety, even when you’re feeling fine. Read your medication labels so that you know what to expect from each one. Don’t drive if you’ve taken medication that causes drowsiness or dizziness. If you’re concerned about side effects or the impact on driver safety, consult your doctor.

No. 4: Understand your limitations

Consider your physical limitations and make any necessary adjustments. For example, if your hands hurt when gripping the steering wheel, use a steering wheel cover that makes holding and turning the wheel more comfortable. You might ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist, who can offer assistive devices to help you drive or suggest specific exercises to help you overcome your limitations.

You might also adjust your vehicle or choose a different vehicle to better meet your needs. For example, many older drivers find it easier to step into and out of a bigger car. Vehicles that feature larger, easier-to-read dials on the dashboard are often popular with older drivers. Features such as large mirrors and power windows and door locks can be helpful, too.

No. 5: Drive under optimal conditions

You can improve driver safety by driving during the daytime, in good weather, on quiet roads and in familiar areas. Plan your route to avoid rush-hour traffic. Delay your trip if the visibility is poor. Beyond road conditions, make sure you’re in optimal condition to drive. Don’t drive if you’re tired or angry — and never drive after drinking alcohol.

No. 6: Plan ahead

When you get in your vehicle, be prepared to drive. Plan your route ahead of time so that you don’t find yourself trying to read a map or printed directions while driving. If you use a GPS device, enter your destination before you start driving. If necessary, call ahead for directions or major landmarks, such as water towers, schools or other prominent buildings. While you’re driving, don’t do anything that takes your focus from the road — such as eating, using a cell phone or adjusting the radio.

No. 7: Update your driving skills

Consider taking a refresher course for older drivers. Updating your driving skills might even earn you a discount on your car insurance, depending on your policy. Look for courses through a community education program or local organizations that serve older adults.

In addition, know when it’s time to consider other alternatives.If you become confused while you’re driving or you’re concerned about your ability to drive safely — or loved ones or others have expressed concern — it might be best to stop driving. Consider taking the bus, using a van service, hiring a driver or taking advantage of other local transportation options. Giving up your car keys doesn’t need to end your independence. Instead, consider it a way to keep yourself and others safe on the road.

 

 

1SafeDriver.com

 

 

Top 5 Ways To Get Pulled Over by the Cops

Top 5 Ways To Get Pulled Over by the Cops

 

It’s easier to get pulled over than you think. All you need to do is commit one of the five violations we’ve listed below. For even faster results, try combining two infractions at once. Many drivers find this very effective.

Actually, the real reason for this list is to stop you from being pulled over by the police. By seeing driving behavior from the traffic cop’s point of view, you can avoid encounters with the law. A little extra awareness could help you keep points off your driving record and keep down the cost of your car insurance.

Three police agencies and two independent traffic experts loaned their expertise for this list of the most common traffic stops. There were some minor variations in opinion, depending on the police agency. But this list shows you the things to watch out for if you want to avoid unwanted contact with the boys (and girls) in blue.

1. Speeding. This was on everyone’s list, and the reason is simple. The faster you go, the longer it takes to react to an unexpected situation, whether it’s a pedestrian stepping into the street or another car making an unexpected lane change, says Detective William Bustos, officer in charge of the Los Angeles Police Department’s traffic detectives. Braking distances also increase as speed builds, and it takes about 120 feet for a vehicle to stop when it’s traveling 60 mph. Speeding is common in Bustos’ jurisdiction, the San Fernando Valley, which has 230 square miles of mostly wide, straight streets. As recently as the early 2000s, the area attracted frequent street races that played like scenes out of The Fast and the Furious and its sequels.

People are driving faster than they did in the past, particularly on the freeways in the busy area of south Los Angeles, notes Edward McElroy, a California Highway Patrol officer. “People seem impatient; their commutes are longer than ever before,” McElroy says. CHP officers write tickets, particularly for speeding, in an attempt to control the “mileage death rate” — the number of people who die per freeway mile. That’s a sobering thought.

Alex Carroll, author of Beat the Cops, which has sold more than 250,000 copies, offers an opinion on how far over the speed limit a driver can go without being pulled over: 5-7 mph “easy,” he says. The officers interviewed for this story confirmed that there’s a “buffer,” but added that the decision to cut a speeder some slack is up to the officer’s discretion.

2. Illegal cell phone use. Distracted driving, usually because of texting or talking on a mobile phone, is high on the list of ticket bait developed by our experts. Although just a few states ban all cell phone use in cars, more than 30 have banned texting behind the wheel. “People think, ‘I’ll just make a quick call,’ or ‘This text will only take a second,'” Bustos says. “But you have to drive as if your life depended on it — because it does.”

Sgt. Jeff Wiles, who heads the Santa Monica Police Department’s traffic division and patrols the city on a BMW motorcycle, says illegal cell phone use is common — and responsible for a lot of trouble. “The really horrific stories about texting make the news,” he says, “But we see accidents and even just fender-benders from it every day.”

3. Hazardous driving. This is a catch-all category for common violations that each of our experts noted. Wiles ticks off his favorites without hesitation: stop sign and stoplight violations, improper lane changes, illegal U-turns, failures to yield and unsafe speeds. CHP officer McElroy says he sees people who apparently have forgotten they’re driving cars: They’re busy shaving, eating and even changing clothes. And what exactly is the violation you’re committing when you’re changing clothes in a car? “Unsafe speed,” he says. “There is no safe speed for pulling a shirt off over your head while driving.”

4. Equipment violations. Everyone knows the movie scene where a cop smashes a taillight to justify a traffic stop. But in real life, there’s little need for that, our experts say. People commit a multitude of code violations all on their own. Leading the list are heavily tinted windows, burned-out headlights, broken windshields, expired tags, the lack of a front license plate (in California and some other states) and loud exhaust modifications.

5. Following too closely and improper lane changes. This one was a tie. Both of these violations are forms of hazardous driving that our police sources specifically called out. McElroy says that on the freeways of Los Angeles, following too closely can easily cause accidents by shortening a driver’s reaction time. Combine that with cell phone use or texting and it is a recipe for disaster, he says.

An improper lane change means cutting someone off or changing lanes without looking first, Bustos says. Failure to signal can also be added to this ticket, he says, but it usually doesn’t initiate the traffic stop — partly because the failure to signal is so common.

A Traffic Cop Critic’s List
Police officers aren’t the only ones keeping track of what gets drivers in trouble. Gary Biller, executive director of the National Motorists Association, which is often critical of law enforcement’s handling of traffic stops, listed some attention-getting moves that the police experts didn’t mention, including:

  • Cruising in the left lane of a multilane highway instead of using it only to pass slower traffic on the right
  • Driving more slowly than the normal traffic flow
  • Peeling out from a stoplight or stop sign, and squealing tires in general
  • Drag racing
  • Racking up lots of unpaid parking or traffic violations

These are things that make your car stand out and catch an officer’s eye. Biller adds that plastering the back of your car with offensive bumper stickers and decals will definitely draw unwelcome attention. Carroll agrees that this will increase the chances of a traffic stop, and adds, “This is particularly so if your sticker conflicts with the cop’s views or is a rival of his favorite sports team.”

Watch Your Mouth
Traffic stops often have a tipping point. Because officers have legal discretion in what they can cite you for, saying or doing the wrong thing can compound your problems. Carroll says that a traffic cop might add extra violations if the motorist is belligerent. Act like a jerk and Carroll says, “They’ll write you up for everything else they can.”

Say that a police officer uses this time-honored opening line: “Do you know why I stopped you?” Take a minute before you answer, Carroll says. If you admit guilt or name a specific speed that you were driving, your fate is sealed. Instead, respond courteously but remain vague, he advises. However, “If you have clearly done something wrong, and you sit there and you’re evasive with the cops, it’s not necessarily in your best interest,” he says.

If you plan on contesting the ticket in court it’s really better to say very little. The officer is expected to have a clear recollection of the traffic stop.

A lot of traffic-ticket gotchas — and serious accidents — begin with a frustrated, impatient driver. If you really don’t want a ticket, try chilling out. Santa Monica officer Jeff Wiles offers this advice: “Put on a relaxing radio station or CD and be patient, because traffic is bad and there will be delays.”

 

 

1SafeDriver.com

 

 

4 Tips for Teaching Teen Drivers

4 Tips for Teaching Teen Drivers

 

If you are a parent with a teen going through the driver’s education process, you are probably pretty anxious about what you can do to make sure they stay safe on the road. Ensuring that teens have a good start to their driving education is always essential. It’s particularly important since parents and legal guardians are expected to spend a significant amount of time teaching their newbie drivers behind-the-wheel basics. If you want to help your teen down the right path to becoming a safe driver, here are four important tips to remember.

Act as a Model For Safe Driving Behavior

The first, most important way you can develop a healthy driving attitude is to start by setting a good example long before your teen takes the wheel. When your teen is seated in the passenger seat, show them what it means to be a good driver. Always follow traffic laws, good defensive driving practices, and common driver courtesy.

To make setting an example really effective, talk to your teen while you are driving to explain your thinking behind all of the actions. Say something like: “I’m allowing myself three seconds of space between my car and the car in front of me just in case they decide to brake suddenly,” or, “I always slow to check for pedestrians before I approach this crosswalk.” This kind of information lets them know how to best apply safe driving techniques.

Make Ground Rules Clear

What do you expect from your teen when they start driving? Many parent-teachers make the mistake of assuming that their student simply understands what their new responsibilities as a driver are. Don’t leave anything to chance or miscommunication. Lay out, on paper, what you want them to do and how they should behave on the road. This won’t just steer them in the right direction while they are practicing with you, it will help make expectations crystal clear after they get their Texas driver’s license.

Make Sure They Know the Law, And the Consequences for Breaking It

Texas, for example, has a graduated driver license system. This system allows drivers to earn their driving privileges in smaller amounts over time. The result creates more experienced drivers who are confident behind the wheel before they tackle more dangerous driving scenarios, such as night driving.

Make sure that your teen understands these limitations and why it is essential that they adhere to them. Breaking the rules (like driving past curfew hours or driving with underage passengers) can be particularly tempting for new drivers, so it’s your job as a Texas parent-teacher to encourage them to stay on the straight and narrow path toward safe driving.

Emphasize Vehicle Maintenance

Teaching your teen how to be a good motorist goes beyond simply showing them how to drive safely. Most new drivers don’t realize just how essential regular maintenance is to having a reliable vehicle. Once they get their license, make maintaining the car their new responsibility. Teach them how to keep their car in good working order by ensuring they are changing the oil, rotating the tires, checking the brake pads, and performing other essential maintenance on time.

 

 

1SafeDriver.com

 

 

Red Light Running

Red Light Running

 

Study provides more evidence that cameras reduce red light running;
decrease is biggest for most dangerous violations well into red cycle

 

ARLINGTON, Va. — In the latest study confirming the benefits of red light cameras, researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that red light running rates declined at Arlington, Va., intersections equipped with cameras. The decreases were particularly large for the most dangerous violations, those happening 1½ seconds or longer after the light turned red.

“This study provides fresh evidence that automated enforcement can get drivers to modify their behavior,” says Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at IIHS and the study’s lead author.

The number of U.S. communities using red light cameras has grown to about 540 as study after study shows that the devices improve safety. A 2011 IIHS study of large cities with longstanding red light cameras found that cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate by 24 percent and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 17 percent.

In Arlington, cameras were installed at four heavily traveled intersections in June 2010. Each intersection got one camera covering a single approach. Following a 30-day warning period, the county began issuing citations carrying $50 fines for violations caught on camera. A press release was issued when the cameras were turned on and then another when ticketing began. Signs were installed at the camera-enforced approaches, but nowhere else. In contrast, some jurisdictions place signs at their borders or on streets throughout the community.

To calculate how the cameras affected violation rates, researchers at the Institute, which is located in Arlington, videotaped traffic during the warning period, a month after ticketing began and again after a year. In addition to the four camera-enforced intersections, videotaping was done at four other intersections in Arlington — two on the same corridors where cameras were located and two elsewhere — to see if there was any spillover effect from the cameras. Four control intersections in neighboring Fairfax County, which does not have a camera program, also were observed.

One year after the start of ticketing, the odds of a red light running violation at the camera locations went down. Violations occurring at least 0.5 seconds after the light turned red were 39 percent less likely than would have been expected without cameras. Violations occurring at least 1 second after were 48 percent less likely, and the odds of a violation occurring at least 1.5 seconds into the red phase fell 86 percent.

Percent difference in odds of red light
violations at intersections with cameras
vs. expected odds without cameras

Percent difference in odds of red light violations at intersections with cameras vs. expected odds without cameras

“What these numbers show is that those violations most likely to lead to a crash are reduced the most,” McCartt says. “The longer the light has been red when a violator enters an intersection, the more likely the driver is to encounter a vehicle traveling in another direction or a pedestrian.”

At the two noncamera sites on camera corridors, the odds of violations also were lower than would have been expected without the camera program. As with the camera intersections, the further into the red phrase, the bigger the effect. However, these results were smaller than at the camera intersections and not always statistically significant. At the two other noncamera sites in Arlington, the odds of violations increased.

The lack of a broad spillover effect isn’t surprising, given the modest scope of the program and accompanying publicity.

“Given the small number of cameras and signs, it’s likely that many Arlington drivers didn’t even know about the enforcement, while those who were aware probably knew the cameras were limited to a few locations,” McCartt says.

That could soon change. The county’s fiscal 2013 budget contains funds for additional cameras.

“We would expect a broader effect to emerge after the program’s expansion into other parts of Arlington,” McCartt notes.

 

 

1SafeDriver.com

 

 

Super Bowl Traffic Safety

Super Bowl Traffic Safety

 

SAFE SUPER BOWL SUNDAY DRIVING TIPS

If you’re attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a sports bar or restaurant:

  • Designate your sober driver before the party begins.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself. Eat plenty of food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or stay where you are for the night and don’t drive until you are sober.
  • Utilize a free sober ride program.
  • Never let friends drive drunk. Arrange a safe way for them to get home.
  • Always buckle up. It’s still your best defense against drunk drivers on the road.

If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party:

  • Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
  • Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Host your party just like they do at the stadium. Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game. The fourth quarter is perfect for serving coffee and dessert.
  • Keep the phone numbers of local cab companies on hand and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.

 

 

1SafeDriver.com

 

 

American Safety Commission Urges Drivers to Move Over, Slow Down for Tow Trucks

American Safety Commission Urges Drivers to Move Over, Slow Down for Tow Trucks

 

Every year, first responders across the country are injured or killed on the job while providing emergency services along America’s highways. The “Move Over” Law aims to make all roadside emergency and maintenance professionals safer.

Who? 90% of respondents to a national poll by Mason Dixon Polling and Research sponsored by the NSC, believe traffic stops and roadside emergencies are dangerous for law enforcement and first responders. 86% of these respondents support enacting “Move Over” laws in all 50 states.

What? The “Move Over” Law, effective in all 50 states, requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency or maintenance vehicle with flashing lights to move to the next adjacent lane if it is safe to do so, and, if that is not possible, to reduce their speed. Each state has their own set of consequences, and failure to comply can result in fines, license suspension, or even jail time.

Why? Over 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

When? Kansas was the first state to enact the law in 2000.Hawaii was the most recent state to pass the law in 2012.

Where? Washington D.C. is the only area in the nation that have yet to pass the “Move Over” Law.

Please show support for this law and help promote national efforts garnered toward keeping our emergency responders safe.

Visit MoveOverLaws.com for more information.

 

 

1SafeDriver.com

 

 

 

It’s the time of year to end unsafe driving practices

It’s the time of year to end unsafe driving practices

 

The woman cradled a toddler and thumbed a text on her cellphone while trying to steer her car one-handedly over a winding road.

She zigzagged, then crashed through a fence into a pasture, flipping the car.

Thankfully, the only casualty was a cow.

“I could have died,” said Emily Schafer, protectively clutching her 20-month-old son, David.

Only if she were in a real car. Schafer, along with her husband, David, was playing MarioKart Wii at Voorhees Town Center. The interactive game, provided courtesy of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, was part of a demonstration meant to illustrate the challenges of driving while distracted, particularly at this time of year.

“Distracted driving is a year-round problem,” agency Chairman Raymond P. Martinez said in a statement. “Now factor in the added stresses of the holidays, when people have to tackle their holiday to-do lists, and the season is ripe for tragedy.”

The Schafers found that out when they took turns in the driving-simulation game. While Emily Schafer juggled steering, texting, and managing a child, David donned vision-impairing goggles, which create the effect of having one to two drinks, well under the amount that would have him in violation of New Jersey’s drunken-driving law.

For someone who says he never drinks and drives, he did surprisingly well with a few (simulated) cocktails in him. Until the end.

“Am I going the wrong way?” he asked his wife before crashing into a fence. Uh, yes.

Even though it was a game, the commission wanted to show shoppers how easy it is to become distracted behind the wheel, spokeswoman Elyse Coffey said.

“Every time you turn on the radio, it’s a distraction. Every time you fix a piece of hair in the mirror, it’s a distraction. Add in the holidays and all the things you have to do, and it’s a recipe for disaster,” she said.

About 5,400 people in the country die each year in accidents caused by distracted driving, whether that’s eating between meetings or putting on makeup on the drive to the office, Martinez said – but for most, it’s using their phones.

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, nearly one in every 100 cars on the road is being driven by someone who is texting, e-mailing, surfing the Web, or using a handheld device for something else.

In New Jersey, there were 1,404 crashes related to cellphone use last year – 70 in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties. Using a handheld device to talk or text while driving is banned in the state and carries a $100 fine.

As for alcohol and driving, even if it’s only one or two drinks, forget about it.

The state has ramped up sobriety checkpoints, with 400 law enforcement agencies making random stops and conducting increased patrols through Jan. 2.

“If we see you swerving,” State Trooper Jay Wolf said, “you can still get a summons even though you’re below the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08.”
 
 

1SafeDriver.com New Jersey Driver Safety

 
 

Dallas Defensive Driving Information, Court Locations and Payment Links

 

Traveling With Children

Traveling With Children

 

Planning a getaway with your kids?  Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for all children. Protect your most precious cargo by following these easy travel tips:

Traveling by Car?

  • Involve your children early on when planning a road trip, which will help keep their interest during the trip.  Show them your route on a map and let them help decide places to stop including landmarks, hotels, and restaurants.
  • During your trip, give your children a map so they can see where you are and how far you have until you reach your destination.  This will help with the “are we there yet” question.
  • Keep children interested and involved in your road trip with a ready selection of cards, maps, family games, sing-along CDs and activity books — especially ones with references to your destination. This will help keep them occupied and create more interaction among family members.
  • As everyone knows, children can be a distraction in the car.  If there is another adult passenger, it is best to let them handle most of the interactions with the children.
  • When choosing activities for children in vehicle it is important to remember that loose items in the car can be thrown or become missiles in the event of a crash or sudden stop.  Be sure to secure loose items including DVD players, laptops, iPads, purses, CDs, umbrellas, holiday gifts, etc. in either the trunk, in a console or under a cargo net.  Only provide children with soft toys and games to play with in the car.
  • There are lots of helpful websites for parents with downloadable coloring pages, games, etc. such as www.SafeSeats4Kids.aaa.com.
  • Get proper rest.  Set aside time to pack your clothes, load your vehicle and get a full night’s sleep for you and your family so you can all set out fresh and rested.  According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy drivers are a factor in nearly 17 percent of fatal crashes, with one in ten drivers admitting to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once this past year.
  • Buckle up, and make sure all passengers are secured properly with safety belts and age-appropriate child safety seats before you head out on your trip.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3 out of 4 safety seats are not installed correctly. Have a licensed child passenger safety technician inspect your child’s safety seat for proper installation.
  • Try to do most of your traveling during daylight hours, when visibility is best.  If you find yourself driving into the glare of a rising or setting sun, consider taking a break until lighting conditions improve.
  • When traveling by RV, make sure passengers buckle up in approved seating locations.

 

 

1SafeDriver.com

 

 

Tarrant County Defensive Driving Information, Court Locations and Payment Links

 

Winter Driving Tips

Winter Driving Tips

 

 

To keep yourself safe on the road in winter weather, follow these driving tips:

  1. Winterize your vehicle to make sure your brakes, wipers, defroster, headlights and heater are all working properly.
  2. Stop gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  3. Turn on your headlights to increase your visibility to other motorists, and keep your lights clean and free of ice or debris.
  4. In unfavorable driving conditions, reduce your speed and increase the distance between your car and the one in front of you. Remember that it takes more time to stop on icy roads.
  5. Stay alert. Look ahead to give yourself more time to react safely to situations without suddenly braking or skidding.
  6. Before driving, clear snow and ice from your vehicle’s hood, windows and roof.
  7. Use snow or all-season tires or chains for better traction and smoother slowing. But remember that regardless of the tires you use, no tire allows you to drive on snow or ice at normal speeds.
  8. Take extra precautions on bridges, overpasses and shaded areas, which can freeze first and remain icy longer than roadways do. A road on which ice and snow are completely frozen is pretty slippery, even though it provides more traction than a road with melting ice.
  9. In wet driving conditions avoid driving faster than the windshield wipers can clear water from the windshield. Make sure your wiper blades are in good shape and replace them yearly.
  10. Equip your car with emergency supplies, such as a blanket, food, water, spare fuses, a flashlight with batteries, an ice scraper, flares and a first-aid kit.

 

1SafeDriver.com