How to drive safely in bad weather

Whether it's ice, snow, rain or fog, driving conditions can turn dangerous if you aren't prepared. Unfortunately it's not always possible to postpone a trip, so here are some driving tips to arrive at your destination safely.

Plan ahead. Bad weather can also mean heavier traffic so leave yourself extra time to get to your destination. You do not want to feel stressed or rushed. Look up alternate routes ahead of time if possible as well in case the conditions of some roads are worse than others.

Pack your car with basic essentials - such as extra gloves, hats, blankets, snacks and water. Throw a flashlight, windshield scraper and jumper cables in your trunk as well. If you'll be driving in snow, pack a bag of sand or salt and a small shovel in case your car gets stuck.

Inspect your car. At the beginning of the winter season or before a long road trip, get your oil changed and tires filled. Make sure your windshield wipers and fluid are filled and working properly. Clean off your dirty headlights to increase visibility. Defrost your front and back windshield and side mirrors before leaving.

Drive slowly and avoid tailgating. Give others and yourself plenty of room in case someone has to brake suddenly, you hit ice or a car spins out unexpectedly. That extra space will give you more time to react and hopefully avoid an accident.

Pull over if needed. Find a safe spot to pull over if conditions are getting too bad to drive in or you're getting tired. Wait it out in your car or stay the night in a hotel until the bad weather has passed. It's not worth your life to risk it.

Always buckle up! This is a law in most states and saves lives, especially in bad weather.

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