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Avoiding car accidents in the winter

Drivers in New York who are preparing for the winter should keep these tips in mind. First, they should let a mechanic check all vehicle components for them, including the battery, spark plugs, ignition and brakes. A mechanic could also ensure the right antifreeze levels and tire pressure. Drivers' vehicles should be equipped with a tank of gas, fresh antifreeze and an emergency kit containing essentials like jumper cables, a first-aid kit and an ice scraper.

People should also be familiar with the safety features on their vehicles. These could be as basic as traction control, which will keep vehicles under control when accelerating on snowy or wet roads, or as complex as some of the latest driver assistance technology. The National Safety Council and the University of Iowa are educating drivers on these newer features through the My Car Does What? campaign.

Before heading out, drivers may want to share their travel routes with someone. They should be careful about leaving their car on to warm up in the garage as this could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. If drivers become stranded, they could light flares or set out reflective triangles, making sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by mud or snow.

On the road, keep an 8-to-10-second distance from other vehicles. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Avoid cruise control in winter conditions.

Even in the harshest blizzards, drivers are expected to keep their vehicles under control at all times. If any negligence on their part leads to an accident, their auto insurance company will likely face a claim. Victims will want to see a lawyer who works in personal injury law so that they can find out if they have good grounds for a claim. After the proof of negligence has been gathered, an attorney could negotiate for a reasonable settlement.

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