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How can I avoid skids and other winter hazards?

One of the scariest scenarios for those driving in ice and snow is getting caught in a skid. While it is always better to avoid a skid than attempt to avert one, try the following tips if you find yourself in that dangerous situation.

As soon as you become aware that your vehicle's front tires are spinning or sliding, lift your foot off the accelerator. Keep your hands on the wheel, but don't attempt to turn it or pump the brakes. The idea is that once the momentum of the car slows down, you can come out of the skid.

If you have anti-lock brakes, the process is different. Then, remember the Triple S's:

-- Stomp

-- Stay

-- Steer

You want to stomp your foot on the brake as hard as possible, stay the course with your foot remaining on the brake and steer out of the skid.

Regular tire maintenance is vital to ensure that you have adequate traction in snow. Tires should have at minimum a tread depth of 6/32-inch. In some jurisdictions, this is the law.

When the temperature drops below zero, all-weather tires are subject to a hazard known as "glass transition temperature." The rubber hardens like a rock and offers very little traction.

When buying snow tires, buy all four. If you just mount snow tires on the front a car with front-wheel-drive, it is likely to spin out in snow. Mounting snow tires on the back of rear-drive vehicles makes them hard to turn in the snow and prone to spin when it's dry.

No matter how many precautions you take, accidents happen. If another driver is at fault in your accident, he or she may be liable for your injuries and other damages.

Source: edmunds.com, "Tips for Safe Driving on Snow and Ice," Mac Damere, accessed Dec. 04, 2015

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