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Take precautions for winter driving

Posted December 11, 2013 in Advice Column, West Des Moines

Reliable transportation is essential in the winter.  It is especially important to keep your vehicle in top operating condition to avoid any unpleasant or dangerous situations while traveling in frigid weather.

Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and taking proper precautions are the keys to safe winter driving.

Prepare your vehicle for winter driving
• Winterize your vehicle. Check with a mechanic to make sure brakes, wipers, defroster and heater are working properly.
• Fill antifreeze and wiper fluids to the proper levels.
• Make sure tires are properly inflated and tread is in good condition.
• Equip car with proper materials in the event of an emergency (blankets, food, water, flashlight, ice scraper, cell phone and extra clothing).
• Keep your gas tank full. You may use more gas while traveling because it may be necessary to change routes or turn back during a bad storm.

Driving tips
• Start early and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
• Clear snow and ice from the hood, roof and all windows and lights before driving. Be sure to keep your headlights on in snowy conditions.
• Brake carefully and early. It takes more time to stop in adverse conditions.
• Look farther ahead in traffic than normal. Actions of other drivers’ vehicles will alert you to problems and give you the extra time to safely react.
• Stay with your vehicle if it stalls. and try to conserve fuel while maintaining warmth. Be alert to any possible exhaust or carbon monoxide problems.

Information provided by Pablo Castillo Country Financial, 650 S. Prairie View Drive, Suite 200, West Des Moines, 515-223-7182.

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