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What can you do to drive more safely in winter?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers tips for driving safely in winter weather. Alaska residents can survive the coldest months of the year by following OSHA's "three P's: prepare...protect...prevent...."

Preparing for the unique conditions of winter driving requires planning and practice, according to OSHA. Plan the route you will take to work or on your weekend road trip, and practice driving in ice and snow in empty parking lots.

Planning ahead helps alleviate the chances of getting stranded on an unexpected detour or running into closed roads you are not sure how to navigate around. It also allows you to keep family and friends informed about where you are and how long you expect the trip to take. 

Practicing in empty lots gives you space to get used to the feel of snow under your tires and to the slippery loss of control in a skid. Training yourself to "steer into a skid" rather than away from it may keep you from sliding off the road in the event you get caught in a winter storm.

Further preparation OSHA recommends includes:

  • Maintaining your vehicles well
  • Keeping a survival kit (ice scraper, flashlight, blankets and flares) in your family's cars
  • Staying in the car if it stalls

Beyond preparing, OSHA suggests protecting yourself with consistent and proper seat belt use. This includes shoulder straps for adults and car seats for children. OSHA recommends children under 12 not sit in the front passenger seat.

Finally, the administration reports you are more likely to prevent car accidents if you refuse to drink and drive. Also, stay alert for others, especially pedestrians on or near the highway. Take things slowly, and drive only when you have had enough sleep. 

This information is intended only to provide information regarding driving safely in winter. It should not be interpreted as legal advice. 

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