Taking the proper steps prior to hitting the road can help prevent an accident.

Wintertime is in full swing with freezing temperatures, but life doesn’t stop for the cold. It’s inevitable that you’ll have to hit the road this winter and ensuring your safety while driving in inclement weather should always be a top priority. Thousands of car accidents happen on a yearly basis, but the wintertime can be especially dangerous due to lower visibility and slicker roads.

Accidents spike in major cities, such as Dallas which sees 17,640 accidents on roads and highways on a yearly basis, not to mention another nearly 9,000 that occurred in intersections alone. Lowering your risk of getting into a car accident can be done using the following six winter safety driving tips:

1. Allow for extra time to reach your destination

Winter Driving Tips

When the weather turns sour traffic will inevitably pick up. Plan your route before you hit the road and look up the drive time, even if it’s a destination you’re familiar with. Getting caught in traffic when you are late may make you want to speed, but it’s important that you drive slow in colder weather.

2. Replace your windshield wipers and top off fluids

Whether you’re battling snow or rain in your climate, having functional windshield wipers is a winter-safety checklist item. As a general rule of thumb, experts recommend that you inspect your wipers every three-to-six months for damage. On top of this, ensure your windshield wiper fluid is topped off so that you can clean dirt or other substances off your windshield while driving.

3. Check your battery level

In cold weather, slightly more battery power is required to get your car running. For those who have a car battery on the fritz or one that is low on charge, this can cause your vehicle to fail to start. Before winter begins or as soon as possible, test your car battery to ensure it is at 12.6V when at rest.

Winter Driving Tips

4. Know your brakes before hitting the road

Keep in mind that in colder weather you will need a greater stopping distance between cars. Inspect your brake pads at the start of every winter to be sure they are not too worn down. If your brakes are due for a change, it’s best to get them replaced to avoid accidents stemming from a hydroplaning vehicle.

5. Pack an emergency kit in your vehicle

In the event you ever break down in the dead of winter, be sure to have a survival emergency kit filled with crucial items. A blanket, water, non-perishable food, flashlight, and more are all great examples of items to keep in the trunk of your car. It’s always better to be prepared when driving in winter weather.

6. Don’t use cruise control on slick surfaces

Winter Driving Tips

On less than ideal roads, the possibility of losing traction with the road becomes far higher. As a driver, you need to be ready to react and correct a vehicle that is losing control, which can’t be done if you’re using cruise control. Avoid using this feature in poor weather or in areas with low visibility.

Protect Yourself Out on the Road with These Winter Safety Driving Tips

Being a defensive driver is always the best strategy, regardless of the time of year. During bad weather, be sure to leave plenty of distance between you and other drivers. Should you find yourself in a car accident, assess the situation and see if medical professionals are needed. Driving can be dangerous, but by taking proper safety steps you can reduce the risk of getting into an accident.

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