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Safe Driving – Safe Driving Tips for all Seasons

Every time you get behind the wheel, your life and the lives of those you love rely on every safety precaution you take. It’s with good reason than that we try to provide some advance warning and advice on how to handle some of the worst safety hazards you’ll be likely to encounter over the fall and winter seasons.

With the high cost of air travel many are opting to drive to their vacation destinations. A wide variety of climates can be encountered and each requires a different handling method. The number of safe daylight hours diminish in the winter, increasing the amount of dangerous night driving. At all times of the year animal life poses an additional threat, and in the fall and winter that threat increases with hunting season, mating season and a search for food in more populated areas. To avoid being caught off guard by any of these dangers, here are some safety precautions.

Consider Road Conditions and Adjust Accordingly

A cruising speed may feel safe, until you have to brake suddenly. If your traveling at about 40 miles per hour on wet roads it takes an extra 90 feet to come to a stop than in dry conditions. It may take even longer when wet leaves carpet the road and more braking distance is required in snow and ice. Keep a reasonable speed and allow plenty of room in front of you for sudden braking. Don’t be tempted to use your cruise control in these conditions and when faced with really dangerous conditions, try to gain more control by using the highest gear possible.

If the car begins to skid and slid or you feel like you’re losing control in some way, STAY CALM! Take your foot off the gas at once and try to avoid the temptation to over correct. If you have anti-lock brakes than keep firm pressure on them. You’ll likely feel the brake pedal vibrate or pulsate but this is completely normal. If you don’t have ABS remember to pump the brake pedal instead of pressing down on it as hard as you can. If you are still losing control and there is a snow bank try using it to slow down. Even driving off the road, unless you’re on a mountain pass, is usually a better option than the oncoming lane. Under most circumstances a head on collision will do more damage than a four wheel drive trip through the field.

Be Mindful Of Wildlife
While wild animals can be exciting to see on your road trip, they can be extremely dangerous when colliding with your vehicle. In hunting seasons it also important to keep an eye out for hunters. If you do see a large animal in the road, or off to the side of the road, be aware that usually there are more that you haven’t seen yet. It’s extremely important to SLOW DOWN! Don’t blow your horn as this may startle wildlife and make them run directly into your path. A sounding horn can anger other larger animals, posing an even more dangerous threat. All of these are very good reasons to pay close attention to animal crossing signs and heed their warnings.

Make a Checklist
In bad weather it’s advisable to make a checklist before each trip to make sure you have the best advantage.
Are your windshield wipers in good working order?
Do all of your lights work as they should, including tail lights, headlights, high beams and turn signals?
Do you have a full tank of fuel? This is important, not just to prevent being stranded somewhere without gas, but a full tank adds extra weight and thus extra traction.
If you do have a very light car, can you add some sandbags or other weights over the wheels for additional traction?
Are all your mirrors set for optimum view?
Have you checked all fluids beforehand, including windshield washer fluid and antifreeze?
Is your radiator ready to handle long periods of running time, without overheating, if you get stuck in traffic, an accident or are stranded?

A little forethought before you set off will go a long way towards providing the safest ride possible.

Keep An Emergency Kit In Your Trunk
Below is a list of good items to keep stocked in your vehicle for any emergency.
Safety Flares
Jumper Cables
Check your spare tire to make sure it’s in good condition
A Jack
A gallon jug of water. Make sure you have enough water for your radiator if it overheats AND for your family if you get stranded.
A blanket or two.
A bag of sand or kitty litter to add traction if you need it.
A snow shovel or folding shovel
Spare gloves, boots and coats
An ice scraper with a brush or a small broom
Extra fluids, like windshield washer fluid and antifreeze.
Depending on the area keep a set of chains or cables handy as you may not be able to get over some mountain passes without them.

If you need any of these items, you’ll be so grateful to have them handy.

DO NOT Drink and Drive
It cannot be overstated. There are enough hazards on the road without added intoxicated drivers. Just don’t do it.

Just as Important – Don’t drive when overly tired.
Beware of fooling yourself intonthinking your not to tired to drive. Especially after dark when your eyes are strained do you need to be aware of your limitations. If you feel even a little bit tired, pull over and rest for a few minutes. It’s better to sleep while pulled over than to fall asleep while driving.

Buckle Up
If you are in an accident, the damage done to you and your family can be greatly reduced with the simple click of your seat belt.

Heed the warnings and be safe on the roads this season!

 

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