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Learn 3 tricks for safer cold weather driving in Connecticut

One of the best things about living in Connecticut is the change of the seasons. People in much of the country don't get to experience all four distinct seasons like residents of Connecticut do. However, the constantly changing climate across the state creates unique road hazards for drivers and commuters that can increase your risk of a crash.

Summer brings issues related to the way glare hits a car and impaired driving as people leave barbecues and parties. The cooler fall and winter seasons have their own unique hazards. Thankfully, there are three safety tips that can substantially reduce your risk of an accident during the fall and winter months.

Proactive maintenance can help you avoid preventable crashes

Proper maintenance is key to vehicle safety in any season, but it is most important during the winter and fall seasons, when the potential for losing control of your vehicle increases. You need to have a vehicle with good tires and functional brakes if you hope to maintain any sort of control if you slide on wet leaves or ice.

Having a mechanic you trust can make the process easier, but you can also take your car back to the dealership. Inspections in the late summer and early spring are an ideal way to identify issues with everything from brakes to wiper blades before they become dangerous to you and others on the road.

Slippery roads demand slower speeds, so leave earlier

Autumn often brings increased precipitation, as well as the fall of leaves from deciduous trees. Given that Connecticut is a state with a lot of roadside trees, the potential is certainly there for falling leaves to create a visibility issue, as well as a traction issue. As temperatures dip below freezing, ice and snow on the roads will also increase the risk of your vehicle slipping.

The only way to mitigate the risks involved with slippery road conditions is to reduce your speed when traveling on slippery surfaces. Depending on a variety of conditions, reducing your speed by anything from five miles an hour to 20 miles an hour may become necessary.

On days when you know the weather will be bad, as well as when you will travel down roads that have less traffic and will have more detritus or precipitation accumulation, plan to leave five to 15 minutes early depending on how long your trip will take. That extra travel time will allow you to reduce your speeds and still get where you're going with plenty of time to spare.

Be ready for both glare and low-light situations

While glare-related accidents are often mostly associated with sunshiny summer days, glare can also be an issue during the fall and the winter. The slanting light of the colder seasons often enters your vehicle at an angle that can make it difficult to see.

Both wet leaves and snow or ice can reflect sunshine in a dazzling, blinding manner. Choosing to wear sunglasses when driving during sunlight hours, even if it is a gloomy day, will reduce the risk of sudden glare blinding you and resulting in a crash.

The other concern here is that longer nights and shorter days could mean lower visibility on the road. Particularly around trick-or-treating season and near residential areas and schools, there will be an increased risk for you failing to notice pedestrians and children near the roads when light is low. Turning your headlights on in gloomy weather and during transitional times of day, as well as remaining vigilant for the sudden approach of children, can keep you and your passengers safer.

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Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law
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