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Winter weather can be hazardous, cause car wrecks

New Yorkers see their share of wintry weather that snarls traffic and jeopardizes drivers, passengers and pedestrians. While it is not possible to avoid every collision or winter weather mishap, below are a few tips to keep our roads safer.

-- Keep your car in optimum condition for winter driving. Fill it with antifreeze and replace any missing headlights that could make it harder to see and be seen. Tires should be inflated to the proper pressure and the battery should have a good charge so you don't get stranded.

-- Keep a first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, sunglasses and warm clothes in the car. Glare from the ice and snow can be brutal. Keep a charged cellphone in the car for emergency calls.

-- Take your time driving in bad weather conditions. Driving too fast in inclement weather causes the majority of winter weather collisions. Don't abruptly change lanes without signaling, brake suddenly and accelerate needlessly. All can cause a car to lose its traction and go into a dangerous skid. Remain patient behind the wheel and allow extra time to get to your destination.

-- Never tailgate. This practice is dangerous year round, but especially so in the winter when icy conditions make it impossible to stop quickly. If an accident occurs, the first collision can begin a chain reaction wreck. Leave your vehicle and get clear to safety off of the highway if necessary.

-- Cruise control should only be used when there are no weather or road hazards. In bad weather, it can cause a vehicle to hydroplane and lose control behind the wheel.

-- It's always a good idea to put off travel when bad weather makes conditions dangerous. Postpone non-essential trips when necessary. If you are already on the road when weather conditions worsen, pull off the highway if you can get to safe shelter to wait out the storm.

Those who have been injured in collisions with at-fault drivers may wish to file claims for compensation. Contact a legal professional who can assist you futher.

Source: Weather.com, "Five Winter Driving Tips" Dec. 31, 2014

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