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Safe Winter Driving Winter driving can be hazardous and scary, especially in areas that get a lot of snow and ice. With colder weather in full swing, it is more important than ever to practice safety when venturing out in a vehicle. Before you head out, there are some things you need to know: Prepare - Have your entire vehicle checked thoroughly for leaks, or needed repairs and replacements. Be aware that it takes more battery power to start your vehicle in cold weather than in warm so make sure your battery is in good working order. Make sure you have enough coolant in your system and that it’s designed to withstand winter temperatures. Completely fill your vehicle’s reservoir with “no-freeze” fluid and buy extra to keep on hand. Make sure your windshield wipers and defrosters are working properly. Check tire pressure and look closely at your tread. Every vehicle handles differently. Take time now to learn how to best handle your vehicle under winter weather driving conditions. Plan – Check the weather, road conditions and traffic reports before you leave. Give yourself extra time to reach your destination. Make sure to keep your gas tank as close to full as possible. Dial 511 or check ND DOT for current road conditions at www.dot.nd.gov. Carry items you may need in an emergency, such as a shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, blankets, cell phone with charger, water and food. Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones – Learn what do to in a winter emergency. You should stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself. Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the dome light turned on. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe or any snow and run it sporadically to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Remember to always wear your seat belt and ensure that everyone else is buckled up. Do not text or engage in any other activities that may distract you while driving. Never leave your child unattended in or around vehicles. Even with good coolant, snow tires, stability control, all-wheel drive, and an emergency kit in the trunk, keep in mind that driving in snow, sleet, and ice is very treacherous. And even if you maintain control of your car, not everyone else will. If you're nervous about driving in winter, consider spending some time practicing. The more comfortable you are maintaining control and regaining control, the better a winter driver you'll be.