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Winter driving: how to stay safe

When winter comes in Wyoming, it brings with it snow and ice, so drivers will want to make the appropriate preparations. One of the first steps is to get a mechanic to check the vehicle's components, including the battery, ignition, brakes and wiring. The mechanic could also check for worn or underinflated tires and ensure the right antifreeze level.

If their vehicle contains new safety technologies, drivers should know what their function is. Many drivers don't, which has led the National Safety Council and the University of Iowa to start an educational campaign called My Car Does What? At the very least, drivers should be familiar with traction control and anti-lock braking.

In addition, drivers are encouraged to keep a tank of gas, fresh antifreeze and an emergency kit in their cars and trucks. The emergency kit should contain jumper cables, windshield cleaner, tow and tire chains, reflective triangles or flares, flashlights and blankets. Drivers may also want to wait out storms unless it's absolutely necessary to go out.

While drivers are on the road, AAA recommends that they keep a distance of 8 to 10 seconds from other vehicles and slowly accelerate and decelerate. The parking brake should not be used in cold, rainy or snowy weather. It's also best to avoid cruise control in winter weather. Drivers should always keep their gas tank above half full.

Even in the winter, though, drivers can become distracted or negligent in myriad other ways. Those who are injured in a car accident and believe the other party is at fault can file a third-party insurance claim. If successful, victims may be reimbursed for their medical expenses, lost wages and, if the injuries are catastrophic, lost earning capacity. This is where a lawyer can come in and hire investigators to gather proof and then negotiate on the victim's behalf.

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