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6 common mistakes motorists make driving in winter weather

It seems that each winter brings an increase in car accidents. No matter how careful you are, someone else's recklessness can put you at risk.

There are many mistakes drivers make each winter, even if they are familiar with snowy and icy road conditions. It's possible you have even made some of them yourself without realizing it.

Here are six common road mistakes made during the coldest months.

Forgetting to winterize their car

Motorists don't always remember to do the necessary maintenance to prepare their cars for winter before they take their first trip on the road. Basic maintenance vehicles should undergo includes:

  • Changing wiper fluid
  • Adding anti-freeze to the radiator
  • Testing the battery
  • Changing the oil and filter on schedule
  • Replacing windshield wiper blades
  • Replacing headlight and taillight bulbs that are low or out
  • Adding winter floor mats
  • Changing tires to winter tires

Rushing through snow and ice removal

We all have our moments when we are in a rush, and winter weather is not conducive to our busy schedules. Regardless, the process of removing the snow and ice from the car is a critical step for drivers before they hit the road. Failing to complete this process can put the driver and other cars in danger. Motorists should try to remember to build in as much time as possible to their travel to allot for the needed time to scrape snow and ice.

Driving at their normal speed

Reduced visibility and slippery roads mean you should be slowing down your vehicle. Even if drivers think their car has excellent tires and can manage a little snow, driving at normal speeds can still be dangerous to others.

Not giving drivers enough distance

Many times drivers are not putting enough space between themselves and other vehicles on the road, which means if someone slams on their brakes due to an unexpected obstruction or stop, there is an increased risk it will cause an accident.

Placing too much trust in four-wheel drive

Motorists with four-wheel drive (4WD) cars can find themselves with a false sense of security in the winter. They assume they won't slip on the ice or need winter tires because they have 4WD protection. While four-wheel drive is certainly helpful, even the mightiest 4WD cars and trucks can spin out of control without warning.

Driving improperly on ice

When a car starts slipping on the ice, many drivers start to panic. What do most of us do when we panic in the car? We brake. That is the exact opposite of what drivers should do on ice. Taking the foot off the gas pedal and steering in the direction of the skid is safer and more effective. But in the moment, it's not always easy to fight our instincts. This can cause accidents that drivers are trying to avoid.

Winter road safety depends on all drivers doing their part in keeping themselves and other safe to avoid car accidents. Avoiding these common mistakes can go a long way to making the rest of this season as injury-free as possible.

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