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Driving tips for a safe winter road trip

The winter season comes with multiple holidays that can require long-distance road trips for you to be with your family and friends. In Iowa, it also comes with poor weather and road conditions that make driving more hazardous. Even if you feel comfortable driving in snowy weather, it is smart to review these winter driving tips before embarking on your road trip so you have safe holiday travels full of good memories and not accidents and injuries.

Be prepared

Before you leave, check the weather report and alter your schedule to avoid driving through a severe snowstorm. Have your vehicle tuned up before leaving to reduce the likelihood of car problems. Make sure your tires are inflated and have enough tread and that all your lights work.

As you drive, always keep your gas tank half full so you do not run out of gas in snowy, isolated places or in traffic. Keep a backpack in the car full of warm clothing, blankets, snacks and water in case you get stuck or lost in the snow.

Go slowly

As tempting as it is to get to your family as quickly as possible, it is better to go slowly so you arrive safely. It takes longer to turn, accelerate and stop on wet or icy roads, so going slowly can help prevent an accident and injury from losing control of your vehicle. This is especially true when going up- or downhill. Pushing on the gas pedal slowly will increase traction and decrease skidding.

Keep your distance

Remember to increase your following distance to allow ample time to stop without hitting the vehicle ahead of you. Braking sooner not only helps you but also gives the vehicle behind you enough time to stop without rear-ending you.

Avoid cruise control

Avoid using cruise control on wet surfaces. It removes the early weight transfer to the front wheels that normally happens as you take your foot off the gas pedal in preparation to stop. If you need to slow down immediately and you have an antilock braking system, stomp on the brake pedal and keep it pressed down.

In the event that you do get into an accident, especially one you didn't cause, it is important that you take the right steps afterwards. Take care of any emergency medical needs first. In addition to notifying your insurance company, also talk to a personal injury lawyer to find out how a legal team can help you navigate insurance claims and litigation if necessary.

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