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Costly winter driving habits

Posted February 12, 2014 in Advice Column, Norwalk

So far this winter we’ve been lucky. But there is no question that the last few years we’ve had harsh winter weather that can be hard on your vehicle.

From snow, slush and salt damage to tough driving conditions that can increase your chance of a collision, drivers need to be cautious during this snowy season. Not to mention the deer problem for Norwalk residents driving back and forth to work.

While you can’t control the deer or the weather, you do have power over certain practices that put you at greater risk for theft or damage that can be easily avoided. Here are a few winter driving habits that can be costly.

• Leaving your running car unattended. On cold winter mornings, many people start their car and go back into the house, leaving the vehicle running to warm the engine and defrost the windows. Or they don’t turn off their car while running into the convenience store for just a minute. Unattended vehicles are an open invitation for thieves. If you run into the store, even for a minute, lock the car and take the keys in with you.

• Driving with all-season tires instead of snow tires. Leaving your all-season tires on your vehicle may not be the safest option during the winter months. Studies have shown that winter tires are more effective at preventing accidents during the cold winter months than all-season tires. They have deeper treads to cut through snow and help you stop. They also are made of rubber compounds that don’t lose their grip when temperature dips below freezing.

• Forgetting to clear the snow from your windows and roof. Before you head out on the road, it is important to clear the snow from all windows on your vehicle to ensure you have an unobstructed view. Be sure to clear off the roof of your car as well.

• Leaving valuables in plain sight. When you leave valuables in your car where they can be seen, anything from expensive electronics like cell phones, iPods and GPS devices, or purchases from your shopping trip, your car becomes a target for thieves. Even if your car isn’t stolen, a thief could smash your window and take your belongings. Keep these items out of sight such as in your glove box or center console. Some items left in your car such as sports equipment, a lap top computer and shopping purchases are not covered under your auto insurance policy. They are covered under your home insurance policy. With some companies that means one deductible for your auto policy for the broken windshield, and one for your home policy for the stolen items.

We know this winter we’ll have some challenging driving situations. Please be safe.

Information provided by Mike Lane, Lane Insurance Agency, Inc., 1225 Sunset Drive, (800) 244-4608.

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