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How to drive safely in the snow

As one of our Massachusetts readers, you know that snow, ice and sleet can wreak havoc all winter long. If you find yourself on the road when the snow begins to fall, it's critical to adjust your driving style with the idea of improving your safety.

Here are five things you can do to drive safely in the snow:

  • Accelerate and decelerate under control: For example, a fast acceleration at a traffic light will cause your tires to spin out, which increases the risk of an accident. Just the same, slamming on your brakes increases the chance of losing control of your vehicle.
  • Slow down: Don't drive so slowly that it puts others in danger, but make sure you never exceed the speed limit. Driving too fast can lead you to lose control, such as by spinning out when you hit a slippery patch.
  • Don't stop unless it's necessary: If you stop your vehicle when driving up a hill, you may not be able to start back up. This leaves you with two options: Abandon your vehicle where you are or attempt to turn around and head back down the hill.
  • Leave more following space: Since it takes longer to stop your vehicle in the snow, leave a greater distance between your vehicle and the one in front of yours.
  • Don't take risks: Even if you have somewhere to be, your safety is more important than everything else. An example of an unnecessary risk is attempting to power up a hill that's covered in snow.

All of these tips are helpful, but there's one more to remember: You should stay home if you're not comfortable with the road conditions. It may not be what you want to do, but it's better than taking a risk that results in an accident.

If another driver neglects to take the road conditions into consideration, they could cause an accident that leads to injury and damage to your vehicle. In this case, move to safety and call for help.

The responding officer can create a police report, while the ambulance can transport you to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment.

As you recover, contact your insurance company to file a claim. Also, focus on the steps you can take to protect your legal rights and obtain compensation for your injuries and damage to your vehicle.

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