(ARA) ? Slick roadways. Ice-encrusted windshields. Limited visibility from snowfall. These typical scenarios are why many cringe at the thought of winter driving.
?Even experienced drivers can find their nerves and skills tested when the snow starts to fall and ice forms on the roads,? says Dawn Duffy of AAA Motor Club. ?Winter driving conditions can be treacherous.?
Jamie Anderson of Minnetonka, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis, knows that firsthand. Last year, while heading north on Interstate 35 during a snowstorm, he hit a patch of ice and slid off the road.
?It was snowing at the time and visibility wasn?t great, so I was driving well below the speed limit with my windshield wipers going,? Anderson said. ?I had seen other cars spin out a few miles back, but never thought it would happen to me.?
Even if you are driving very carefully -- like Anderson was -- accidents can happen. Here are some safety tips for winter driving from AAA:
* Clear all snow and ice from windows, roof, hood, trunk, mirrors, lights and signals before leaving your driveway.
* Once in transit, observe all speed limits and reduce speed whenever road conditions or visibility are compromised by foul weather. Keep in mind, speed limits posted are for ideal driving conditions. When driving in inclement weather, slow down.
* Avoid sudden starts, stops and hard turns, especially when roads are slippery or wet.
* Improve visibility by turning on headlights in the late afternoon before the sun begins to set.
* Anticipate potential danger on the road, such as icy bridges, snow-covered lane markings or stalled cars, by decreasing speed, increasing the distance between the vehicle in front of you or changing lanes to avoid trouble.
* If you haven?t done it already, refill your windshield wiper reservoir and replace your windshield wipers.
?There are few situations more annoying to drivers than having to deal with visibility problems associated with worn or ineffective wiper blades,? said Jay Burkhart, vice president of marketing at Federal-Mogul Corporation. He advises drivers to replace their blades well before winter with a set of ANCO Premium Winter Blades, which are designed with a rugged rubber cover over a heavy-duty frame for strength against extreme weather conditions.
Anderson was lucky. Even though his car initially got stuck in a snow bank, his vehicle has four-wheel drive so he was able to get out; but Duffy advises all winter drivers to have emergency supplies on hand just in case they get stuck. These supplies should include a cell phone, flashlight with extra batteries, blankets, sleeping bags, matches, extra set of mittens, canned fruits and nuts, bottle opener, water, sack of sand, shovel and first aid kit.
?For longer trips, especially, make sure people know where you?re going, when you plan to get there, and what route you'll be taking, just in case something does go wrong,? Duffy says. ?That?s not just in the wintertime, but any time of the year.?
For more information about ANCO wiper blades, go to www.federal-mogul.com/anco or inquire at your local retail auto parts store or repair shop.
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