In Massachusetts, winter can last from November to April. As sure as Spring, accidents follow in snow’s wake. From black ice to blizzards, even seasoned drivers often find roads challenging to navigate in the colder months of the year. Is your car prepared for winter roads? Are you prepared to drive in difficult weather conditions?

The National Highway Safety Administration offers these tips for drivers:

  • Stop driving. If the weather is too severe, avoid the trip altogether. Better safe than sorry.
  • Service your car before freezing temperatures start. A breakdown on the road can be perilous in the winter months. Make sure your battery and oil levels are in good standing and have the mechanic check for worn hoses or other necessary repairs as a preventative measure. Make sure your lights remain bright.
  • Spend time getting to know your car. All vehicles handle a little differently. Your wheel may pull a little to the left—or the right. Become accustomed to how your car drives and brakes, especially if it is a new vehicle. Taking this time may prevent accidents in the future.
  • Store supplies in your car. In case of a breakdown, a blanket could prevent frostbite and water could tide you over if there is a delay waiting for a service vehicle. You should also have a shovel, a scraper, a flashlight and a charger for your cellphone.
  • Secure a safe route before you depart. Keep to highways and well-populated roads whenever possible for a better chance of clear roads and other drivers passing by.
  • Safeguard your battery. Battery power drops with the temperature, so your car will be harder to start. Replace older batteries and keep jumper cables handy.
  • Supply your car with extra windshield wiper fluid, as you use more in snowy conditions. Visibility is critical in bad conditions.
  • Supplant old tires. Consider investing in winter tires and install them properly in the fall to prepare your vehicle for snow.
  • Slow down. Be extra cautious on the roads. It safer for you, your loved ones and everyone else.
  • Stay of the full side of the gas tank to avoid the dangers of running out of gas in freezing temperatures.

Massachusetts needs more conscientious and defensive drivers. You can make the difference between a carefree trip and a collision.