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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
traveling safe Driving in unpleasant weather is no picnic, whether it's simply to the grocer's or across different states. That's why it pays to have a well-prepared car. Seeing to it that the vehicle is ready for whatever climets show up and not rushing to get to a destination will ensure that you and your vehicle arrive safe and in one piece.
Traveling Safe in Winter

The AAA and Department of Transportation offer several tips to make winter travels safer. See to it that the following are taken care of: 

Car Care Essentials:
1. Always have the gas tank half-full. This prevents moisture from accumulating and becoming frozen in the gas tubes or lines.
2. Check the battery connections. They have to be clean and secure. Batteries older than three years should be replaced.
3. Make a safety kit for winter. It's a box containing spare batteries; a flashlight; one sleeping bag or blanket; extra hats, rain gear, socks and gloves; one sack of non-clumpy kitty litter or sand for traction in case you are trapped in snow; jumper cables; a big bright-colored cloth to serve as flag; bottled water; non-perishable foods, one small kit for tools; and a first-aid kit.
4. Check the car. See that the windshield wiper fluid and anti-freeze are enough.
5. Make sure tires are inflated properly and frequently. Icy temperatures can cause the tire air pressure to drop, affecting handling and traction.
6. Clean lights and mirrors. See that the lights are all aimed right.

Pre-departure reminders:
1. See to it that all roads included in your trip route are open and passable. The US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration website www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo provides updates to keep you posted.
2. Warm up the vehicle in open areas. The garage and other enclosed parking places aren't the best for warming up cars.
3. When taking trips or passing through remote locations, inform friends or family where you plan to be. Let them in on the route to be taken and estimated arrival time.

The actual trip heads-up:
1. Keep headlights turned on.
2. Raise stopping distances between the vehicle ahead and you.
3. Be on the lookout for drivers who could be having issues with roadway conditions.
4. If feeling uncomfortable about driving, find a secure place and park there for a while.
5. Always buckle up.
6. Slow down, please. Gradual acceleration and deceleration is best. Refrain from frequent use of the cruise control.
7. Never pass other cars on or when close to bridges.

Keep all these safety measures and you're sure to arrive at your destination with everything intact. They can spell the difference between a great trip and an unfortunate, regrettable, mishap-ridden outing.

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