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Tips for Pennsylvania drivers braving the wintry weather

The winter of 2018 has been a fierce one. Pennsylvania drivers need to be prepared if they get caught in inclement weather. The national auto association AAA offers some safe driving tips for winter weather in the United States.

Some of the below tips are solid year-round advice for drivers, but pay special attention to those dedicated to the wintry months.

Never drive when you are tired. Before trips, get adequate rest. If you become fatigued on long drives, pull into a rest area or other safe location for a rejuvenating nap.

Perform routine safety checks and maintenance tasks on your automobile to keep it in tip-top shape. Tires should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. Fluid levels should stay topped, and make sure that you add antifreeze to the radiator. Also, have your mechanic check the wear and tension on all of the belts.

Don't mix radial tires with other kinds. Doing so increases the likelihood of instability and poor handling.

Your vehicle should never have less than a half-tank of gas in winter. This will help prevent the gas line from freezing.

Never use cruise control in inclement weather, including rain. The extra time to react and brake could lead to an accident on slick surfaces.

When heading out on a long trip, make sure that someone knows your planned route and estimated arrival time. If there is a problem on the road and you don't arrive, he or she will at least have an idea where to search for you.

Monitor the projected weather reports along your route. Plan alternate routes in the event of blizzards, white-outs or interstate closures. Also, consider staying home and postponing your trip.

Make sure that you have a charged cellphone with you. Take acar charger along with you as well.

Either in the trunk or passenger compartment, make sure that you have the following:

  • Any medication you or passengers may need
  • First-aid kit
  • Warm change of clothing
  • One blanket per occupant
  • Gallons of water and high-energy dried food
  • Extra gloves, hats and scarves

Remember, if you wind up stuck in a snowbank, it's very easy to get over-exerted trying to push or dig your way out. Even healthy individuals who regularly exercise have suffered heart attacks doing just that.

Unless you are in an urban area with open businesses where it is safe to leave, it's better to remain with the vehicle if it breaks down or gets stuck in the snow. The car is your temporary shelter from the storm and is more visible to potential rescuers than you would be.

Winter weather is a factor in a great number of auto accidents, but the risk is even higher when other drivers are negligent. If you are injured in a collision caused by an at-fault driver, you deserve compensation from all liable parties.

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