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Consumer Tips: Drive with Care in Wet, Winter Weather

Sometimes the weather outside is frightful, but you have still places to go. Whether you’re driving in rain, snow, ice or fog, following a few simple tips can help you, your family and your car arrive to work, school or grandma’s house safely.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 23 percent of all auto collisions are weather-related, mostly due to wet pavement and rain. Follow your instincts and don’t drive if you feel unsafe or if authorities are advising you to stay off the roads. If you do venture out, proceed with caution.

The first rule of safe driving during any kind of inclement weather is to slow down. If your visibility is so limited that you can’t see in front of you, carefully pull off to the side of the road and stop completely.

Keep these other tips in mind when driving this winter:

  • Rain, fog and snow can limit your visibility and make braking difficult, so leave plenty of space between your car and the car ahead of you.
  • Avoid hard braking and use caution when making sharp turns.
  • Drive with your low-beam headlights on, even during daylight.
  • Avoid using cruise control, which can reduce traction.
  • If you start to skid, don’t slam on the brakes. Continue to look and steer in the direction you want the car to go.
  • Avoid puddles when it’s safe to do so. They can be deceptively deep.
  • If you hydroplane, ease off of the gas and resist slamming the brakes. Most hydroplane incidents will last for just a split second before you regain control of the car.
  • Check your tire pressure regularly. 
  • Avoid driving in floodwater. Even slow moving water can be powerful and cause you to lose steering control.
  • In snow and ice, try not to stop when heading up a steep hill. After you’ve stopped, applying extra gas to get started again may only spin your wheels. Get some momentum going on a flat road as you approach the hill to help you reach the top, then reduce your speed and drive down the hill slowly.
  • When you see a barricade, turn around and follow designated routes. Don’t take a chance on a “shortcut.”
  • Minimize distractions and keep your eyes on the road. Don’t text, talk on the phone or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Even the safest drivers have collisions. Call your AAA insurance agent if you need to file a claim.

For more information, call your AAA insurance agent or insurance customer service, or visit your local branch.