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If its cold: kitty litter, BEST thing to get out of a stuck icy driveway. Pay close attention to the cars that are driving in the opposite direction as you because there headlights will lightly reflect on your side of the road as they approach, and if there is ice it will give a good shiney so you will know a few feet or so ahead of time if there is a black ice patch. Careful around bridges and water base areas. Always have a cell phone, even if it is out of minutes, any phone will dial 911 in emergancies. Flares, Hand and feet warmers (trust me I live where it gets -27), A dry change of clothes, A wool or thick blanket, and if you can manage to get a small shovel to fit in your car in case you get burried. Fill your windshild washer fluid with Deicer fluid and make sure you keep it full because if it runs out and you have frozen mud on your windshield, you could be in danger. Careful of build up snow banks, its hard to see around and easily causes accidents, so take your time. Keep your distance because if someone breaks you could end up running into them.
The summer: Flares, blankets, cell phone, Dry clothes, Flashlight, spare batteries. Just watch for everyone, My dad used to tell me, Drive like everyone is trying to hit you, never let a vehicle get close to you. Always figure out "escape routes" like what if a car was coming twords you on a 4 lane? Options, swerve and hit something, a tree, a telephone pole, go off the road, maybe hit a person walking, Side swipe the car next to you (which is the safest of all choices IF you have to hit a something because they are going the same direction as you.)
wear seatbelts, make sure your cars running properly, make sure there is enough tread left on your tyres and brakes are working properly. also driving responsibly greatly reduces your risk of an accident, always indicate when your turning or overtaking. remember that the middle back seat is the unsafest seat to sit in (at a very sudden stop the person could fly through the windscreen) so avoid putting a child/kid their and if theres a different seat available, take that one. when driving at night or in the rain you should be doing a bit under the speed limit and go slower, also go slower when your not sure about the road your on. a first aid kit would be a good thing to carry, as would a fully charged phone and some spare change and food/snacks just in case of an imergency, also some water and a spare tyre.
Always drive defensively (pay attention to the other drivers and what is going on around you) and drive to your conditions (ie: slow down if necessary when snowing or raining, wear sunglasses when it's sunny or there is a glare). You should always carry your driver's licence, insurance papers, an emergency car kit (blanket, first aid, snacks, flares, flashlight), booster cables, ensure your spare tire is in good condition, snow brush, shovel, cat litter (in case you need extra weight or traction in the back end). In the winter, if I'm driving in the country, I make sure I throw in my parka, heavy mitts and my heavy-duty snowboots.
Most important thing I have learned is to always leave plenty of room between you and the rig in front of you. I have rear ended several people because I thought I could stop faster than I could. ESPECIALLY IN THE WINTER OR RAIN. Also, I assume everyone out there is a blind physco and about to run me over. Also, if in doubt always use studded snow tires in the winter. You want that added control. I can't really add anything to the list of things to carry with you. Everyone else has covered that very nicely.
Wear your seatbelt, Don't talk on the phone or text while driving, Make sure your airbags are on.
My mom always has an extra jacket or blanket in the car in the winter, have a hammer or something incase you need to break a window, a pocket knife or scicors incase you have to cut your seatbelt off for any reason, a pen for writing things, keep a pack of crackers and a bottle of water in cse you get stranded.....That is all I can think of.
The best advice I would give is always assume the other drivers don't see you. Don't get boxed in on the expressway; It is best to have space ahead, behind, and on both sides in case you have to make evasive maneuvers whether it is accelerating, braking, or swerving to either side. Don't tailgate or allow other people to tailgate you, keep track of cars entering your blind spot and don't drive in other driver's blind spots.
Seatbelts first of all,even for the kids. Obey ALL the traffic rules of your country and always look out for the drivers who aren't looking out for u. Keep your insurance info in the car,a flashlight,camera the number for a wrecking service and emergency contact info in case you get hurt.
I want to add to this. Seat belts are EXTREMELY important. I know of people who survived extreme crashes and the only reason for it is a seatbelt. It really does make a difference.
Always wear your seatbelt. Make sure your car has airbags. Always wear appropriate clothing for the weather incase you're stuck outside on the side of the road for a long while.
These people pretty much answered already, but I have to throw this in here: always always carry spare money in your car.
ways to prevent: don't drive while you're drunk don't speed
what should you always carry: first aid kit
first aid kit, spare tire and tools, owners manual, drivers liscense, proof of insurance.
also don't text while you're driving keep both hands on the steering wheel
Ive had a rough first winter in the North east Kingdom... lol
a lighter or matches.