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Winter driving presents special hazards

New Jersey drivers often have to contend with weather-related hazards like snow and ice. The recent tragic highway pile-up in neighboring Pennsylvania illustrates how quickly a routine drive can turn deadly.

Below are some tips for New Jersy drivers to avoid these deadly types of multi-vehicle highway accidents.

Check the weather

Before leaving, whether it’s a short jaunt across town or a longer interstate trip, learn what the weather conditions will be along your route and at your destination. Then, plan accordingly.

Be aware of black ice hazards and that bridges ice up before flat stretches of roads.

If your route will take you through a snowstorm, you may want to toss a bag of salt and a small shovel in the trunk. For long journeys, add some warm blankets and an emergency supply of food and water.

Be especially wary when driving in fog, as crashes increase as much as 155% during foggy conditions, AAA reports.

Stick to surface streets and roads

You can’t get into an interstate pileup if you aren’t on an interstate. Of course, this may not be possible, especially for longer trips. But if you are traveling short distances in inclement weather conditions, consider alternative routes that don’t involve interstates.

Keep in mind that lesser used secondary routes may not be salted or sanded as regularly or as soon as the interstates, however.

Slow it way down in snow and ice

You are not going to be able to drive the speed limit when it’s icy and the snow is blowing all over the place. So you will need to adjust your speed to suit the weather conditions.

That will also add travel time, so you will need to plan ahead. The last thing that you need to do during winter storm conditions is be in a rush to get to your destination.

Remember to leave extra room between your front bumper and the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead of you. A rear-end collision will likely result in your being ticketed for an at-fault accident.

Also, please remember to brake and turn slowly in snow and on ice. Slamming on the brakes and jerking the wheel can put you into a deadly tailspin.

Consider not driving at all

While this certainly won’t always be possible, unless your trip is urgent, consider postponing it until the weather clears. When the winter conditions are really bad, the fewer cars on the road, the better.

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