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Tips for safe and responsible driving in the winter

Drivers in New York will face many challenges when winter brings wet, snowy and icy road conditions. That's why concerned motorists should have a mechanic check vehicle components such as the brakes, ignition, battery and spark plugs. They could also have the mechanic check antifreeze levels and tire pressure.

It's also important to be familiar with a vehicle's safety technology. Traction control, for example, is a standard feature on most cars. Drivers should know if their vehicle has anti-lock braking. If they are unfamiliar with more advanced safety features, they should know that the National Safety Council is educating people about such systems through a campaign called, "My Car Does What?"

It's vital to understand that safe practices actually begin in the garage. Many drivers leave their cars running in a garage to warm up. However, this could cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Drivers should have a clear travel route, and if possible, they should not head out in storms. Furthermore, the use of cruise control and the parking brake should be avoided in winter.

On the road, drivers should accelerate and decelerate slowly and keep a distance of 8 to 10 seconds from the vehicle in front. If they get stuck in snow, drivers should not push the vehicle out. They can signal distress with a brightly colored cloth and even consider using flares or reflective triangles.

Even in the winter, though, drivers can be negligent. For example, they could rely too much on their safety features and become inattentive to the road. Whatever the cause of a motor vehicle accident, a crash victim who believes the other party was negligent will want to see a lawyer about filing a personal injury claim. The lawyer could hire investigators to gather proof, such as the police report and any physical evidence at the crash site, before initiating negotiations.

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