Winter weather driving tips

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It's been a rollercoaster of a winter here in Michiana when it comes to temps, and we're only midway through the season. Spring doesn't officially begin until March 20, a full 2 months from now, so ABC 57's providing you with some AAA-approved winter weather driving tips.

-Clean off your entire car before driving. Snow left on vehicles can sometimes blow onto your windshield or the windshields of other drivers. Make sure your mirrors and lights are clean as well.

-Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent it from freezing.

-Perform the penny test on your tires at least once a month: Stick a penny upside-down into the groove of your tire. If you can see the top of Honest Abe's head, then it's time for new tires.

-Drive with your low-beam headlights on, even if it's daytime.

-Stay at least 15 car lengths (200 feet) back from other vehicles. This gives you more time to react.

-Look farther ahead in traffic than usual. The actions of other drivers will alert you to issues before you reach them.

-If your tires lose traction, continue steering in the direction you want to go.

-When avoiding a collision, steer out of the way of the object you're avoiding instead of braking. This takes less time and distance than trying to come to a complete stop in winter conditions.

-If you're stuck in snow, straighten the wheel and accelerated slowly. Add some sort of abrasive material like sand or cat litter under the wheels to avoid spinning the tires.

-Remember: 4-wheel drive helps you get going quicker, but it does nothing to help you stop faster.

-Keep a winter weather kit in your car at all times during winter months. It should include jumper cables, flares, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a blanket, a cell phone charger, a small shovel and a bag of abrasive material such as sand or cat litter.

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