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Drive for Safety: Prepare for winter driving

4:48 PM, Nov 21, 2011   |    comments
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SCARBOROUGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A lot of us who have lived in Maine for a long time feel like we've heard this advice before, but crash statistics bear out that we need a yearly reminder.

Maine's snowiest month is January, but the state has the most crashes in December.  In fact, winter weather-related crashes decline every month from December through March.

According to AAA, a lot of drivers get into trouble simply because they aren't prepared to leave the driveway.  AAA says the biggest preparation mistake drivers make is that they don't check their tires.  Low tire pressure is a common problem in the winter, and worn out tires lead to cars slipping and sliding on the road.  You can check your tire treads by putting a quarter into the tread, with Washington's head facing down.  If the tire doesn't cover the top of Washington's head, you need new tires.

Drivers also should have their batteries tested to make sure they have a decent charge, keep your fuel tank full, and consider getting winter wiper blades.  They won't fill with ice and snow like regular ones.

Keep a safety kit in the car that includes an ice scraper, a small shovel, safety flares, extra gloves and a hat, as well as a warm blanket, and kitty litter or sand to spread on the ground for traction if your car gets stuck.

Before you leave on a snowy day, make sure your car windows are scraped off, and that both your headlights and tail lights are cleared as well. 

Then, when you're out on the road, take it slow.  Black ice can form on the road even on a sunny day if the snow has melted.  Do not tailgate or try to pass snow plows. It makes the road less safe for everyone.

NEWS CENTER

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