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Winter Driving Safety
11.30.2012

Winter is the season that tests our diving ability on challenging road conditions. Being prepared helps you stay safe.

Follow these basic safety steps to keep this season safe for you and your passengers.

Ice and Snow: Remove It Before You Go

Clean off your car entirely.  It’s New Jersey Law!

Remove all snow and ice from your vehicle before you start driving, especially from the hood, windows and roof.  Snow can slide off the roof and cover your windshield or fly onto someone else’s windshield possibly causing an accident affecting you or others.

Motorists who fail to do so can cause property damage and/or injury to others and face fines of $200 to $1,000 for each offense.

Do everything slowly when driving in snow.

Driving in snow, sleet and ice is treacherous, even if you’re well prepared and using an all-wheel drive vehicle.  Accelerate, turn and brake slowly and gently in the snow since your tires are just barely gripping the road.  Anticipating turns and stops also helps.

Don’t Be a Distracted Driver

Icy roads and winter driving conditions require your full attention and maximum response time.  Don’t be distracted, even for a few seconds, by talking on a handheld cell phone or texting – both are against the law in New Jersey.

If your car needs regular service, get it done now.

Avoid being stranded or waiting for a repair truck when it’s freezing outside.

Check tire pressure.

Tire pressure drops about one pound per ten degrees of temperature. Low tires jeopardize your car’s handling.

Maintain the battery and charging system.

Have your battery, charging system and belts checked by your mechanic.

Batteries lose power as the temperature drops, so more power is needed to start the engine in winter.  It’s also harder to start your engine in winter because the oil isn’t as "fluid" in colder months.

Keep windshield wipers in good shape.

Windshield wipers are essential to seeing clearly in wet weather. Water from melting snow is often thrown onto your windshield even without precipitation.

Monitor windshield washer reservoir.

It's easy to use more windshield washer on a snowy or slushy day. 

Have basic supplies in your car.

Invest in a good snowbrush and ice scraper; keep a shovel and a bag of sand handy, too.

Keep lights clean

Daylight hours are shorter and visibility is diminished in bad winter weather so keep your front and rear lights clean for maximum visibility.

Sources: New Jersey Department of Transportation, NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety, AAA, cartalk.com.