BALTIMORE (WJZ)– As the North East braces for a possible crippling winter storm, it’s never too early to prepare.

AAA says no one plans to get stranded and urges motorists to take advantage of the calm before the storm to prepare themselves and their vehicle for the worst by using the A, B, Cs:

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Assemble an emergency kit for your car BEFORE you need it

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  • Emergency kit items to include – deicer, shovel, ice scraper, sand or kitty litter (for traction)
  • Pack a blanket, extra gloves and hat, heavy coat –if you’re stuck on the road for an extended period of time you’ll need to stay warm, especially if your vehicle is not running
  • Pack snacks, beverages, etc. – have them packed by the door to take in the morning (so they don’t freeze in the car overnight)
  • Charge your cell phone – have a backup power source for the car in case you’re stuck for a while
  • Make sure your windshield wipers and lights (headlights, taillights, turn signals) are working properly – make sure you can see and can be seen
  • Keep a full tank of gas

Brush up on your winter driving skills:

  • Wait for the roads to be plowed and treated before venturing out – road surface condition is the single most important safety factor during a winter weather event.
  • Thoroughly clean off your car – remove ALL snow and ice before driving anywhere.
  • Warm the car up outside of the garage
  • Drive slowly
  • Increase following distances
  • Accelerate and brake slowly – it takes longer to slow down on snowy, icy roads.
  • Do not use cruise control and avoid tailgating – normal following distances of three to four seconds for dry pavement should be increased to eight to 10 seconds when driving on icy, slippery surfaces.
  • Regardless of whether the vehicle has front-, rear- or four-wheel drive, the best way to regain control if the front wheels skid is:
    • Take your foot of the brake or accelerator and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
    • Avoid slamming on the brakes. Although hitting the brakes is a typical response, slamming the brakes will only further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to regain control.
    • Wait for the front wheels to grip the road again. As soon as traction returns, the vehicle will start to steer again.
    • When the front wheels have regained their grip, steer the wheels gently in the desired direction of travel and begin to accelerate slowly.
  • Use the “plant and steer” method with antilock brake systems. Do not remove your foot from the brake or pump the pedal. If you apply pressure and the wheels lock momentarily, you might feel the brake pedal pulse back against your foot. This is normal. Just hold the brake pedal down and steer. Pumping the pedal actually works against the system.

Consult your car insurance coverage:

  • Make sure to have a current copy of your car insurance card in the car with you or on your phone, if needed
  • If you are involved in an accident, knowing what your policy covers is important protection.
  • Collision coverage, an optional portion of a standard auto insurance policy, covers damage to a car resulting from a collision with an object (e.g., a pothole, lamp post or guard rail) or another car. However, it does not cover wear and tear to a car or its tires due to bad road conditions or potholes. If your car crashes on ice or a snow-covered road, that would fall under the collision portion of your policy (minus the deductible).
  • Comprehensive coverage reimburses drivers for theft, vandalism, flooding and damage from fallen objects, such as ice-covered tree branches. If your car is damaged by falling ice, comprehensive insurance will cover it (minus the deductible).

*Information provided by AAA. For more information CLICK HERE.

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