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Cold Weather and Safe Driving

Cold Weather and Safe Driving: What You Should Know

Dangerous Driving Conditions on Icy Road

Wet, icy weather causes a large number of accidents every year. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if drivers had taken the time to prepare their vehicles for such difficult conditions. The more careful you are, the less likely you are to get in an accident that could hurt you and your wallet, costing you big in repair bills and general auto insurance premiums.

Check your tires
Before you even open that car door, check that your tires are in good condition. Over time, hot or cold weather could cause damage to the rubber in your tires, causing them to lose their tread or go "bald." A bald tire is extremely dangerous in wet or icy conditions, according to Safe Motorist. One of the benefits of tread is that it gives water somewhere to go when you're driving over a puddle or patch of snow. If you have less tread on your tires, your car will have less friction against the road, increasing your risk of skidding or hydroplaning.

Watch your wipers
Accidents are considerably easier to avoid if you can see out your front windshield, so make sure that your windshield wipers are in good condition. There are two things that will need to be periodically replaced, the wiper blade and the wiper arm. The wiper blade is the part that comes in contact with your window. It's made of rubber and it washes dirt off your windshield every time it rains, so this part needs to be replaced more frequently than the arm. A windshield wiper arm will eventually bend or lose pressure, meaning that it won't be able to hold the blade against your windshield with enough force to clear off rain, snow, or dirt. At this point, it's time to get a new one, says Goodyear - before you have to drive through bad weather.

Scrape off your headlights
Next to seeing out of your windshield, ensuring that other cars are able to see you is the number two rule of driving in hazardous conditions. If you come outside to find your car covered in snow, chances are you'll clean all that snow and ice off of your front and back windshields. It's less likely, however, that you'll remember to brush off your headlights and taillights. Many car owners assume that the heat from the light will melt through the ice - not necessarily true. Many modern cars come equipped with LED lights, which produce a lot of light, but almost no heat. Stay safe, and scrape them off.

Dry your shoes
This one is often forgotten by commuters hurrying to hop in their car and out of the rain or snow, but it's important. If your shoes are wet or muddy - especially if you're wearing flat-soled leather shoes to work - they won't be able to grip the peddles as well as a dry shoe. If you find yourself in a tricky driving situation, the last thing you want is to find your feet sliding off the pedal. There's a reason your car probably came with removable floor mats. Wipe your feet off before you drive - you can clean off your mats later.

There is always a higher risk of an accident when driving in icy or rainy conditions, but if you follow this checklist you can drive feeling confident and prepared. While you're at it, get a car insurance quote. If you're working hard to stay safe, you may be surprised by the possibility of cheap car insurance.

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