Safety tips for road warriors this turkey day holiday

Thanksgiving is Thursday and rain is in the forecast; snow is expected in higher elevations. If you are planning to hit the road to your holiday destination, here are some winter driving tips from the California Office of Traffic Safety:
  • Make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip. Check your brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, anti-freeze, heater and exhaust system and tires;
  • Start out with a full tank of gas;
  • Turn on your headlights in cloudy, rainy, snowy and foggy weather. Use the low beam; Allow extra travel time and slow down;
  • Wear your seat belt for best way to survive a crash;
  • If it’s raining, drive toward the middle lanes, as water tends to pool in outside lanes;
  • Be alert and vigilant for hazards around you;
  • Add distance between you and the car ahead;
  • Avoid using your brakes by taking your foot off the accelerator. Tap the brake pedal to warn those behind you that you are slowing down. Do not hard lock the breaks;
  • Never drive through moving water if the ground beneath it cannot be seen or the water's depths are unknown. Your vehicle could be swept away;
  • Do not use cruise control, which can cause skidding and loss of tire traction in winter conditions;
  • If you begin to hydroplane or skid, never brake suddenly, ease off the gas until traction is regained. Turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skid. As recovery begins, gently steer straight. Brake using a light pumping motion in vehicles without antilock brakes. With antilock brakes, brake normally because the car's computer will mimic the pumping action;
  • Carry the appropriate size chains if you plan to head toward snow country;
  • Travel during the day and not alone. Inform others of your destination and travel schedule. Avoid shortcuts and back roads;
  • If conditions are really bad, postpone the trip;
  • Do not use your cellphone while driving;
  • Know your medications and whether they cause symptoms of drowsiness or others that may impact your alertness level;
  • Keep an emergency kit, extra clothes and a blanket in your trunk for safety. For emergency kit content suggestions, visit;
  • Keep abreast of the latest traffic conditions at or (800) 427-7623. However, if you need to check road conditions, have a passenger call for you or pull over to a safe place before calling. For more tips, visit
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