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How can you drive safely this winter?

Winter driving can be dangerous for anyone traveling, whether it's to head to another state or just a quick trip to the supermarket. To help keep yourself safer, here are some safety tips that can help you stay on the road and stay safe if the worst does come to pass.

First, remember that you should never drive when fatigued. The winter months tend to be colder and more strenuous on the body; the daylight fades faster, too. With all these factors, it's not uncommon to be a little sleepy, but you should avoid being that way behind the wheel. If you notice a driver swerving or looking like he or she is nodding off, call the police for assistance; you could save a life.

Another thing you shouldn't do in cold, rainy or snowy weather is use your cruise control. When you keep your foot on the gas, you have more control, and you can slow down or speed up in an instant.

Always use your seat belt when you get into your vehicle, especially in these dangerous conditions. If your vehicle slides or is hit, you don't want to be thrown from your seat.

If you're planning to make a long-distance journey, remember to watch weather reports before you go. Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times, and take a break to rest if you end up having to dig your vehicle out of the snow or ice.

If you do get hit by a car or truck, make sure you stay in your vehicle if you can or carry emergency supplies if you need to be out in the cold. Blankets, flares and other emergency items can be the difference between another vehicle seeing you or adding on to the wreck. Call for emergency help immediately, so you can get the medical care you need.

Source: American Automobile Association, "Winter Driving Tips," accessed Dec. 29, 2016

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