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Preparing Your Car for Dangerous Driving Conditions

Winter Driving Header

By: Eric Rosenberg

No matter where you live, chances are you'll encounter adverse driving conditions from time to time. While traveling in poor weather isn't ideal, following safe-driving techniques and maintaining your vehicle can help keep you and your passengers as safe as possible on the road.

If you expect bad weather ahead, be sure to follow these tips to stay prepared.

When Safe-Driving Techniques Are the Most Important

Every single time you drive, you should buckle up, pay attention and be ready to react to what other drivers and surprise road conditions bring your way. Here are some examples of times when you'll need to be ready to employ specific safe-driving techniques:

  • Snow or ice
  • Rain
  • Wet roadways
  • Unpaved roads
  • Damaged roads
  • Heavy traffic
  • Unfamiliar areas

Depending on where you live, driving in bad weather conditions may be common or incredibly rare. In either case, however, it's important to be aware of other hazards, including damaged or unpaved roads, areas experiencing heavy traffic and unfamiliar roads where you could run into unexpected safety challenges.

How to Prepare for Adverse Driving Conditions
Before every flight, pilots take time to check the plane, review the weather and prepare a safe travel route. You may not need to conduct a full pre-flight check when going on a short drive, but you can always be prepared when you follow these guidelines:

Monitor your driving mindset: Don't drive when you're fatigued, very upset or under the influence of any alcohol or drugs. Driving when you're well rested and able to focus on the road is safest.

Keep your vehicle maintained: In adverse driving conditions, a well-maintained vehicle is essential. Routine maintenance does most of what you need to stay safe. Having your tires, brakes and other safety-related parts checked more frequently can be a good idea, as well. Never ignore noisy breaks or warning lights, as they can indicate serious problems.

Know what's ahead: Check the weather and consider tuning into the local news or GPS app to find out about accidents, objects in the roadway and any other adverse driving conditions you may be able to avoid.

Practice defensive driving: Even on a sunny day with perfect weather on a newly paved road, another driver could come out of nowhere and introduce an unsafe condition. Always stay alert and practice defensive driving techniques to avoid danger created by others.

Your Insurer Wants to Keep You and Your Car Safe

When it comes to keeping you and your car safe, you and your insurance company are on the same team. After all, if you can avoid an accident, you'll both save money. That's a win-win.

Westfield, for instance, offers resources around defensive driving and vehicle safety to help you level-up your safe-driving IQ. If you want even more, contact a Westfield agent to find out more about what's available to keep you safe when you're behind the wheel.

Drive Safely Every Time You Get Behind the Wheel

No drive, event, shopping trip or visit is ever worth risking your safety. When in doubt, it may be best to stay at home under a cozy, warm blanket with a hot chocolate rather than venture out into adverse driving conditions.

If you do have to drive in bad weather or other less-than-perfect conditions, do everything you can to be prepared and drive safely.

Eric Rosenberg is a freelance writer specializing in finance and investing. His writing work has appeared in Business Insider, Investopedia, Huffington Post, and many other outlets. Rosenberg also consults about financial management and small business solutions.