Winter driving hazards can be mitigated

As Stamford residents are well aware, our section of New England gets plenty of snow and ice during the winter. But that doesn’t mean that some motorists may be caught unprepared on the roads.

Below are some suggestions for safer driving during the colder months of the year.

Winterize your vehicle

Ideally, you will have already done this in the autumn, but if things got away with you last fall, it’s not too late. Add anti-freeze and other fluids to keep your car or truck performing optimally.

Seat belts save lives

While this is true all 12 months of the year, it’s especially vital in wintry weather when accidents can occur with little or no warning if a car hydroplanes on black ice.

Mount the snow tires

It’s difficult to get traction on snow or ice, but snow tires can give you an added edge. Also, inflating your tires properly can help them adapt to fluctuating temperatures.

Top off your tank

Winter is not a good time to find yourself stranded with an empty tank. In fact, it could wind up being deadly. Also, blizzards and Nor’easters can cause widespread power outages, stranding motorists without access to gas pumps. Keep your tank no less than half full in the winter to sidestep these dangers.

Reduce your speed

Plowing through drifting snow at full speed can be deadly to you and all who share the roads with you. Slow down and dial back the likelihood of your getting involved in an accident.

It’s also important to brake and accelerate slowly in inclement weather. Otherwise, your car could go out of control and collide with another vehicle or stationary object.

Eliminate distractions

Remaining alert behind the wheel is much easier without distractions. Turn your phone off or use an app that pauses it when you are driving.

But cellphones are not the only distraction. Eating and drinking, applying make-up, chatting with passengers and changing the station on the radio all divert your attention from the road in front of you.

Ditch your cruise control

Cruise control is great for long summer trips on an interstate. But on icy or snowy roads, cruise control can lead to an increased risk of accidents.

Plan trips in advance

While this may not always be possible, there is almost always time to do a quick check of the weather and the roads you will travel to get to your destination. This can alert you to potential hazards you might face on your trip.

While these tips can be very helpful, they cannot entirely prevent a winter collision. If you get injured in an accident caused by another errant driver, learn about your rights and responsibilities after an accident.