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Getting in and out of the driveway safely in the snow

You can't do much about the weather, so let it snow.

However, there are things you can do to make yourself safer -- and it starts by just making it out of your own driveway without getting into an accident.

People often worry about the roads ahead in the snow but neglect to take precautions at home that will keep them from sliding into a drainage ditch or their neighbor's SUV.

Here are some practical tips you can use:

  1. Shovel out before you back out. If you have a garage or carport, you may be so grateful that you don't have to scrape off the car that you forget something else important: shoveling the driveway clear. Your tires can spin out when they hit the snow just outside your garage, causing you to slide out of control quickly. In order to avoid sliding into your own home or a nearby vehicle (yours or a neighbor's), make sure you shovel a path for your vehicle.
  2. Examine what the city snowplow left behind. If the city snowplow left a mound of snow that obstructs your vision as you are trying to pull into the street, don't take chances. As frustrating as it is, you need to shovel the snow out of the way so that you aren't taking a blind leap of faith onto the road.
  3. Get out the salt. This is the last step -- but probably the most important one that you can take. There's a reason that salt trucks are a reassuring sight on city streets. Road salt can reduce vehicle crashes by as much as 88 percent. If it does that good of a job on the road, why neglect your driveway? Stock up on salt before the snows (it isn't like it has an expiration date) and be liberal with it on your driveway. Give it 25 minutes to work, for maximum safety.

There -- Now you're ready to get out and face the roads ahead. Do keep in mind, however, that accidents can happen even to the most prepared. If you're in an accident that isn't your fault, it may be wise to explore your legal options before you agree to any settlement offers.

Source: safewinterroads.org, "Safe winter roads protect lives," accessed Jan. 12, 2018

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