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Winter driving tips for Boston residents

Boston winters are legendary for massive snow accumulations when a Nor'easter blows through the city. But it doesn't take a major winter storm to make driving during a New England winter dangerous.

The time to prepare you and your vehicle for wintry weather conditions is before the storm hits. You should have a good understanding about features on your car or truck like antilock brakes. These can work both for and against you when you try to drive in snow or on ice. Below are some tips to help keep you safer while driving this winter.

Carry commonly used items

Carry in your vehicle some necessary items to help you manage winter driving-related tasks. Some suggestions include:

  • Ice scraper
  • Jumper cables
  • Snow shovel
  • Broom, and ice scraper
  • Kitty litter or sand that can give you needed traction if you get stuck
  • Flash light
  • Flares

Be prepared for weather conditions

Always check the weather conditions for your route if you plan to drive any distance in the winter. Remember that just because it might not be snowing here in Boston, areas like the Cape or other parts of New England could be inundated.

You might also want to toss an extra set of warm winter clothes and a couple blankets in the trunk. Should you get stranded in a snowbank for any length of time, those could be lifesavers.

Allow extra time

During icy and snowy conditions, the last thing you need to do is speed to get to where you're headed. Allowing extra driving time will enable you to reduce your speed if necessary while driving through inclement weather.

Also, make sure that you carry a charged cellphone with you so that you can call for help if needed.

GPS systems could lead you astray

Automotive technology systems are great and can be relied upon to help you get to where you are going safely. But remember, too, that relying soley on your GPS could get you into serious trouble. Taking the scenic coastal route may be fine during the summer but much less so when winter storms are sending waves cresting over the road.

Provide a friend or relative with your ETA and route

It is prudent to notify someone of your intended destination and route before leaving and call them upon your arrival. They can alert authorities along your route to be on the lookout for your vehicle in case you crash or get stuck in ice and snow.

If you get into an accident

Learning what steps to take after an accident with an at-fault driver can help you access the assistance you need to pay for repairs, medical bills and other expenses after a collision.

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