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Winter driving safety tips

Slick roads, snow squalls, poor visibility and holiday traffic contribute to the increase in auto accidents when winter comes. According to data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reported in USA Today, Indiana is historically one of the five most dangerous states for cold weather collisions.

Protect yourself and others on the road with these tips for driving safely during the winter.

Conduct routine maintenance

Make sure your car is in optimal condition before you hit the road. Check the vehicle’s battery power, because cold temperatures can shorten its lifespan. Top off antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid, and replace the vehicle’s wiper blades. Have your tires replaced when the tread becomes worn and have a comprehensive tune-up from a trusted mechanic. Inflate your tires when pressure drops, which happens more quickly in low temperatures.

Adjust your schedule

When a winter storm is in the forecast, stay home if at all possible. If you have no choice but to drive, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. If your county issues a travel advisory, abide by its instructions and stay off the road.

Stay under the speed limit

When the roads are wet or slushy or fog decreases visibility, travel slowly and leave plenty of space between your vehicle and other cars on the road. When changing speeds, proceed cautiously to avoid losing control of the car. Do not speed up or slow down rapidly.

Be prepared

Stock your vehicle with extra supplies in case you get stranded. Your emergency kit should include at least one extra layer of warm clothing, a flashlight, a snow shovel, kitty litter to give your tires traction, blankets, jumper cables, flares and a spare cell phone, battery and charger.

Winter weather accidents can result in serious injury or even fatality. Take care when on the road to avoid a debilitating incident.