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winter travel: stay safe driving in snow

It’s inevitablewe have all had to do some traveling when the weatherman says we shouldn’t. Sometimes you simply have to get from point A to point B, whether it’s a perfectly sunny day or the snow is coming down in droves. So this winter, if you just have to get in your car and go, follow a few simple guidelines for safer travel.

Stock your car with the right equipment. De-icer, window scrapers, a shovel, and chains don’t take up a lot of space, but you’ll sure be glad you have them if you get into a pinch.

Be cautious and defensive. Not everyone may be as cautious on the road as you are, but defensive driving can be your best friend. Stay aware of who and what is around you, and always be alert.

Go slow. It may sound like a no-brainer, but some people just try to take things too fast in the snow! On more than one occasion coming down the hill from our family cabin, we’ve been passed by a speedy driver only to see them in a ditch on the side of the road a few miles down, when they couldn’t slow for a sharp turn. Nice and easy does it with snowy or icy conditions.

Know your 4-wheel drive. If your car has 4-wheel drive, know when it’s appropriate, how to correctly engage it, and when to turn it off. Your manual should have all the information you need.

Turn into the skid. If worse comes to worse and you find yourself sliding into a turn on snow or ice, turn your wheel the direction that you’re sliding. Some experts also recommend slightly accelerating, which transfers the weight of the car from the front to the rear wheels. It might feel counter-intuitive, but can often pull a car out of a skid and help regain control.

Do your research. Know everything you can, not just about your car but about the weather into which you’ll be driving. And if it just looks too rough, perhaps it’s not worth the trip.

What other winter travel tips do you have? We’d love to add to the list, so leave a comment and share your smarts! And always have safe travels.

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