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7 tips for safer winter driving

7 tips for safer winter driving

We may have had a surprisingly warm and unusual December this year, but as the winter advances, plenty of snow will find its way to Western New York. Soon. And while you have plenty of other things to preoccupy your time, like that big project at work or getting the kids home from school, you'll want to make sure not to forget safe driving practices as the roads get slippery and conditions get worse.

Auto accident cases keep us busy all year round, but we'd really rather see you and your family make it through the winter without any fender benders. So with that in mind, here are a few tips for safer driving in our notoriously treacherous Buffalo weather.

1. Winter Tires - You should probably get a set. Most regular tires or even all-season tires do not provide the same performance and traction as some of today's best snow tires, and you'll notice the difference right away. New tires can get pricey, but it'll be worth the investment to keep you and your family safe.

2. Drive Slowly - You'll want to especially follow this one the first few times it snows. As much as you think you'll remember exactly how your car performs in wild weather, you should still ease into it and avoid the slipping and sliding as much as possible.

3. Fill Up Your Tank - Gas lines can freeze over easily in the winter when you don't have much fuel left in the tank, and it's always better to be prepared for an unexpectedly long commute home... even if you only work a few miles from your house.

4. Increase Following Distance - If you normally stay 3-4 seconds behind the car in front of you, try keeping 8-10 seconds back. Stopping time on slippery pavement can easily double from normal conditions.

5. Stock Up Your Car - Keeping extra items like food, blankets, gloves, hats, shovels, boots and water in your car during the winter is never a bad idea. It always seems like overkill until 5 feet of snow falls within 24 hours.

6. Avoid Cruise Control - The biggest step to safe driving during the winter is to always stay in complete control of your car. Cruise control can easily get you in trouble if you hit an unexpected ice patch or need to hit the brakes in a hurry. Stay alert and stay safe!

7. Leave a Phone Charger in Your Car - In the unfortunate case that you do get stuck or in an auto accident, you'll definitely want plenty of cell phone juice to make the necessary calls to get you or any injured people to safety.

Above all else, always exercise greater caution behind the wheel during snowy conditions. If you stay calm and patient while driving, it'll be much easier to make safety a priority for yourself and the drivers around you.

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