2006 Winter Driving Tips

Aspen, Colo., Feb 1, 2006 –

* Always wear your seat belt — Seat belts are necessary in all seasons, and especially when conditions are not ideal
* If your vehicle needs a tune-up, do it before winter — The little things (spark plugs, bad hoses and belts) can leave you stranded in the cold weather. Also, make sure to get your battery and cooling system checked, as the winter months are extra tough on them
* Always keep your gas tank at least half full — If you get stranded for any reason, your engine is the only source you have to rely on for heat
* Always take a cell phone with you — This is truly a time to take advantage of this modern convenience. If you get stranded, it will be much easier to call for assistance from your car, as opposed to walking to the nearest gas station. Don’t forget the car charger for your cell phone
* When driving in the snow, do everything slowly — Even with the best equipment, driving in the snow can be treacherous. Accelerate, turn and brake slowly and gently
* Be sure to check the weather before heading out on a long trip — It’s best to be aware of the weather conditions you may encounter on your journey. It’s also wise to build some extra travel time into your itinerary, in case you run into harsh elements that may slow you down
* Be aware of potential icy areas such as shady spots and bridges — Even if it’s blue skies and sunny, it’s still icy on bridges and in the shade through the winter months
* Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles — In snowy weather, you need more time to react if the vehicle in front of you suddenly brakes
* By law, do not pass snowplows on the freeway — In winter, these vehicles should be treated with the same respect as emergency response vehicles
* Clear snow and ice off your vehicle before driving — Visibility is key in poor driving conditions. This also will help avoid sheets of ice flying off your vehicle and hitting the vehicle behind you
* Keep a winter car kit in your vehicle at all times — It’s always a good idea to keep emergency items (flashlight, blankets, matches and non-perishable food) in your vehicle in case you get stranded for an extended period of time


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