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Safety tips for winter driving

It is starting to feel like winter in Indiana, so make sure you and your car are prepared for the cold, snow and ice.

Protect IU has a few recommendations to help winterize your car. First, it is important to get your car checked at an auto shop. They’ll look at your tire tread, battery, brakes and more to ensure your vehicle is in safe condition.

Also make sure you have emergency supplies in your vehicle. Tools like a shovel, flashlight and jumper cables are must-haves. Winter weather can also leave you stranded, so keep items like a phone charger, blanket, snacks, water and a first aid kit handy.

Before you start driving, defrost and scrape ice off all of your windows, lights and mirrors. Also make sure your gas tank is at least half full in case you get stuck and need to keep your heater running.

When you are driving in winter conditions, keep this mantra in mind: Stay alert, slow down and stay in control.

Start slowly and test steering and brake ability. Avoid spinning tires by pressing the accelerator gently until the car starts to roll. Rain, ice and snow can all affect braking distance, so reduce your speed to match the severity of conditions. It is also important to leave more space between cars and prepare to stop three times sooner than normal.

Beware of black ice on bridges and shaded areas. If you start to slide:
• Remove your foot from the accelerator.
• Do NOT apply the brake.
• Steer in the direction of the skid.

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