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Whether you’re planning on taking a road trip or you will be commuting to and from work this winter, it’s important to stay safe on the road. Have a look at the five tips below to find out how you can improve your safety while you drive so you get to and from your destination without incident.

Stay Sober

This should be a rule for any time you’re driving, no matter the season. Avoid taking any kind of recreational drugs as they can adversely affect your reaction time and impair your judgment. If you’re on any medication, only drive once you’ve found out that it does not cause drowsiness. Driving under the influence is unsafe for you and other road users, and if caught, you will be charged depending on the specific rules of your state. For instance, the first DUI offense you get in Maryland can cost you $1,000 in fines and up to one year in jail. This is enough to keep you sober and aware while taking that road trip, for which you can select a designated driver who won’t partake in any substances.

Be Focused

The weather conditions during winter call for extra attention to the road and other road users whenever you drive. If you must have your phone on at all times, connect it to a Bluetooth device or the speaker in your car to avoid looking at it or reaching for it while you drive. Be aware of everything happening on the road to make sure you can react accordingly in case of anything, like hitting the brakes when something happens in front of you.

Slow Down

When driving in winter, avoid speeding at all costs. This is risky because your car’s traction on the road is compromised by the freezing conditions, and vision may be impaired by reflection or fog and snow. You also need to drive slow enough that you keep a reasonable distance between you and the car in front of you. If anything happens, you will have the time to maneuver as you should. Driving while under the influence of drugs may cause you to speed unnecessarily, and so it should be avoided as well. In Texas, a third DWI is a third-degree felony and it carries punishments ranging from two to ten years jail terms.

Drive Defensively

Driving defensively calls for being aware of what other road users are doing at all times and being ready to act if something happens. You should be prepared for any occurrence because this is the only way you can avoid being in an accident caused by the actions of other drivers. For instance, whenever you’re driving behind another car, be aware that they may brake suddenly and so don’t drive too fast and close to them.

Check Your Brakes and Tires

Keeping your car in good condition is a great way to make sure it will perform as it should while you’re on the road. Get a set of winter tires that maintain a better grip on the road in frozen and wet conditions, or at least make sure that your current tires have deep enough treads. Always keep their pressure in the recommended zone as well. If you hear a squeak when you engage the brakes, have them checked out immediately. With 16,438 car crashes each day in America, it’s safe to assume that some are as a result of cars that missed their maintenance dates.

To make sure that you will be safe on your commute or road trip, follow the tips above and you will have improved your road safety. Always keep your car maintained, taking it in for service whenever necessary, and you will get a long time of good service back from it in all seasons.