Prepare for winter driving with these helpful tips

November 6, 2013 12:00 AM

The arrival of the colder months means that many drivers are beginning to plan holiday road trips. No matter how great the distance you are traveling, you could encounter some nasty weather and rough road conditions. That makes preparing for inclement weather a priority, and several organizations are coming up with the best tips and tricks for staying safe behind the wheel. 

Michelin, the maker of tires, recently launched a Winter Driving Academy to provide motorists with an online space to learn how to navigate a vehicle in the snow.  

"Drivers need to understand and respect winter conditions," said Carl Nadeau, a race car driver and expert at the Michelin Winter Driving Academy. "It's important to adapt driving to existing conditions, especially when facing winter hazards such as black ice and slush." 

Here are a few tips that could help you stay safe and prepared on the roads this winter: 

Increase your reaction time
One of the easiest ways to stay safe during the winter is to reduce speed in tough conditions. Be sure to leave plenty of room between your car and the others on the road, as this will provide you with enough time and space to react to the actions of drivers around you. Should someone be forced to brake quickly or swerve, you will want to be able to avoid a collision in a safe manner. 

Have an emergency kit
All drivers should make sure they have an emergency kit with everything they need in the event of a winter accident. Items like a spare jacket and blanket are essential should you be stuck somewhere with plummeting temperatures and no heating system, and keeping a flashlight with fresh batteries may also be helpful. Additionally, first-aid supplies, jumper cables and tire chains could be wise choices. Many motorists will also want to make sure they have a container of gravel or sand that can help their vehicles find traction on slippery surfaces. 

Ask for help
Drivers who are not sure what tools they need in their emergency kit, or those who have any other questions about operating their vehicle in winter, should reach out to a professional at an auto repair franchise for help. While these experts can handle the major car repair that may come about from driving in inclement weather, they also may be able to offer some input about what owners need to get their automobile to the garage safely. 

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