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Winter driving hazards that affect Southern California drivers

Winter driving in most states is notorious for being dangerous, causing accidents and stranded vehicles. Ice and snow may not be part of Los Angeles winters, but the season still brings dangers to Southern California drivers.

Knowing what they are and how to prepare for them can help you drive safely this season, whether on the highway or in the mountains.

Rain

White winter weather is not the leading cause of accidents this time of year, reports USA Today. Rain is. The water causes your tires to have less traction on the roads, slick from oil buildup. Rainfall also decreases your ability to see and for other motorists to see you. In some areas, heavy rain can lead to flash flooding, mudslides and rockslides due to the dryness the rest of the year.

Fog and smoke

Just as dangerous for driving is fog. Visibility is at its lowest, especially when combined with inclement weather and darkness. Always use your headlights and drive at an appropriate speed so you have time to react to hazards. This is especially important when driving in proximity to active wildfires.

Wind

Winds can become very fast and strong, knocking tree branches onto the road and even blowing over semitrucks. It is best to avoid driving in severely windy weather so you and your vehicle do not suffer damage from flyaway objects, road obstructions or tipping semis.

Tips for driving in Los Angeles winter

In addition to preparing for the above weather conditions, take these safety precautions to reduce accident and injury.

  • Make sure your windshield, windows and mirrors are clean to prevent sun glare. 
  • Keep your cellphone out of reach, so you are not distracted while driving.
  • Pack an emergency kit for your trunk with supplies such as jumper cables, flashlights, water and blankets.
  • Lower your speed whenever driving conditions are not normal.
  • Stay off the roads in bad weather.

Most important, know what to do if you get in an accident to optimize your chances for a good physical and financial recovery.

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