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Tips for safe driving in the winter

Every year, ice and snow in the winter cause pileups across the United States. For those driving in the poor weather in Rhode Island this year, here are some tips that can help conquer even the most adverse conditions.

1. When sliding, steer into it. For example, if the back end of your car loses traction and drifts to the left, steer to the left.

2. Before tackling busy roads in the winter, practice in safe, controlled conditions. If possible, go to an empty lot and drive around, getting used to the way the car turns, handles and brakes. Even at slow speeds, this can help prepare you for a sudden, high-speed maneuver.

3. Don't follow too closely. The hardest thing to do on slick roads is to stop quickly. Even if you feel that you have your vehicle under control while driving, you can lose that control if you have to slam on the brakes. Always give yourself an extra cushion of distance.

4. Know how your brakes work. Do you have antilock brakes or not? If you do, you can stomp on them and they'll basically "pump" the brakes for you, without locking up. If you have older, non-antilock brakes, though, you have to do this yourself. Locking them up just causes you to slide.

Many accidents happen at the beginning of winter, when it seems like everyone forgot how to drive in the snow and ice. They still drive like it's the summer, not following at a safe distance and driving too fast for conditions.

Even if you do the things noted above, you could be hit and injured by another driver, and then you need to know how to seek compensation.An experienced Rhode Island attorney can provide important legal guidance.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Safe Winter Driving," accessed Dec. 09, 2016

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