Record-setting. Brutal. Relentless. Pick your adjectives how you like but this winter has tested the patience and resolve of all New Englanders. But life goes on, and that includes driving. As has often happened this season, sometimes the best course of action is to not drive at all. However, when you do hit the road it is important that you take steps before you get in the car and while you’re driving to make sure that you and your vehicle make it safely to that first sign of spring.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds all of us of these important winter driving safety tips:
- Check the weather. As noted, sometimes the conditions, common sense and/or the law make it such that you should reconsider driving at all.
- It will take you longer to get where you’re going. Accept it and plan accordingly, leaving earlier or arriving later than usual.
- Keep your gas tank at least half-full. If you get stuck in a traffic jam or other conditions, you might need more fuel just to stay warm.
- Pack a shovel, broom, ice scrapper, flashlight, jumper cables and warning markers or flares.
- Have an abrasive material, such as kitty litter or sand, ready to help with traction.
- Have a blanket, cellphone, some water, food and any necessary medicine (for longer trips through rural areas).
On the Road
- Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
- Don’t get cocky because your car has all-wheel drive; AWD does nothing to help you brake.
- Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
- Keep your lights and windshield clean.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
- Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
Bottom line: let’s all finish riding out this ridiculous winter safely.
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This article has been prepared by Nugent & Bryant for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.