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Winter driving. Slick roads and other hazards.

Depending where you find yourself this winter, winter weather is either already in full swing or is coming...and with the cold weather comes the need to be extra careful on the road. Seasonal dangers, like snow and ice on roads and reduced visibility from winter precipitation, make it important for you to prepare and focus to prevent accidents.

Watch the Weather. One way that you can limit your liability in the winter is to do your travelling in relatively good weather. Be alert and stay up to date on changing weather and traffic reports in order to anticipate and avoid stormy roadways. New smartphones and tablets make this even easier with real-time wireless weather updates (just don't check while driving!!).

Slow Down. A little more caution makes a lot of difference when roads are slick. Keeping more car lengths between vehicles gives you more time for any sudden stop too.

Know Your Car. If you drive a newer, more tech-equipped vehicle: it's critically important to understand how your safety features work.
The biggest example? Anti-lock brakes. Where tapping brakes works for controlling skid in traditional braking, pumping ABS can be dangerous. Road safety experts and law enforcement professionals know that anti-lock brakes and other features are no substitute for safe stopping distances and reasonable speeds - and that goes for other high-tech features like traction control as well. Even some more traditional features of a vehicle can be confusing - for example, experts warn against using cruise control on slick roads.

Get Your Vehicle Ready for Winter. In states that get the most winter weather, drivers are allowed to put on items like tire chains or tire studs to add traction. In other states, these additions are illegal because they can tear up roads. Check with your state highway patrol or department of motor vehicles to find out what is appropriate where you live. No matter what state you're in, it's a good idea to keep tires at proper inflation.

Also, don't forget to take the time to remove ice from the windshield and windows and big drifts of snow from the hood and cabin top in order to prevent problems with visibility.

Stock A Winter Emergency Kit. In the event that you do have to pull over during a major storm or find yourself with a broken-down vehicle, be prepared with a winter emergency kit. Recommended items include: a flashlight and batteries, hand-warmers, blankets, drinking water, shovel and ice scraper, jumper cables, and standalone emergency lights or flares.