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Watch out for winter hazards when you're driving near semis

The winter is a time of year when ice and snow may cover the roads and make them more dangerous for all drivers. If you're planning to go out, you may be worried about large trucks, too. These vehicles have a harder time stopping under the usual circumstances, but when you add in the risk of ice and snow, there's a real likelihood that a driver could lose control and hit another vehicle.

Since winter is nothing new, the good news is that there is plenty of information about how to avoid crashes. If you're in a smaller passenger vehicle or consumer truck, keep these tips in mind to keep yourself safer.

1. Truck drivers need additional time to stop if there is ice or snow, so brake longer

If you are traveling and see a truck driver behind you, give yourself plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. You want to give the truck driver as much time as possible to slow or stop if necessary. Don't ever slam on your brakes (if it can be helped).

2. Don't skip in and out of lanes

It can create a hazard if you keep going back and forth between lanes, especially if truck drivers are around. These drivers need more space, so if you cut them off, you could find yourself at risk of a crash. Once you get into a lane that is moving at a decent speed, stay in it. If you get stuck behind slow-moving traffic, avoid the urge to drive too closely to the back end of the other vehicles. You still need time to be able to stop safely.

3. Keep an eye out for unusual behaviors

If you see a truck driver who is swerving or struggling with their vehicle, take note. Don't put yourself in a lane next to a driver who is swerving or who has gone off the road. Give yourself space, instead, and call 911 or the police. The driver may be having a medical emergency, could be distracted or may have fallen asleep. You don't want to put your vehicle in their way, so slow down and back away to give yourself time to stop if they crash.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind to stay safe on the winter roads this year. Be cautious, so you can get to your destination safely.

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