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3 winter driving safety tips you should know

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Nasty winter snow, sleet and freezing rain have definitely settled upon the Chicago area, bringing with them hazardous driving conditions. Heed the following 3 winter driving safety tips that just might give you an edge on slippery streets.

1. Go slow. When approaching a turn or sharp bend on a snow- or ice-covered road the first thing you should do is GENTLY apply your brakes BEFORE you begin to turn, advises the Car Care Council. Take your foot off the brake, then coast through the corner while turning the wheel. Accelerate, gently, only after you’ve straightened out your vehicle.

2. If your car starts to slide. Stay calm or you could lose control. If your car’s rear swings out (fishtails) accelerate LIGHTLY to straighten it out, adds the Council. If it slides forward, straighten the steering wheel and gently apply the brakes. “As with all winter driving maneuvers, using a gentle hand and not stabbing the gas, brake or steering wheel is the most effective way to recover from a slide,” notes the Council.

3. Know your car. It goes without saying that you should keep your car maintained, no matter what the weather. Check battery, tire tread and inflation, and windshield wipers, keep your windows clear, put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir, and check your antifreeze, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also helps to know your vehicle’s capabilities and limitations so there are no surprises and you can react accordingly if a spinout or slide occurs. Even anti-lock brakes and traction control can’t always keep a car from sliding on a slippery street, says the Council. Always drive a safe speed for conditions and maintain a safe distance from what’s in front of you.

Douglas Automotive : 123 E. Virginia, Crystal Lake, IL 815.356.0440 : 417 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL : 847. 381.0454 : 416 Northwest Highway, Fox River Grove, IL : 847.639.4552 : www.douglasautomotive.com

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