OK, we are truly having our ups and downs with weather here in The Berkshires and all across the tri-state region as the next few days will bring us a taste of spring, but keep in mind, the calendar STILL says winter is amongst us and by week's end, be prepared to receive another curve ball from Mother Nature as the forecast calls for a mix of snow, sleet and even freezing rain by Friday morning.

In a recent article published by boston.com here are some tips you need to be aware of if driving is on the agenda. it is best to stay off the roads during stretches of inclement weather, but here are some helpful hints that could make the ride a little less strenuous.

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dolgachov
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First, clean your vehicle from excess snow and ice buildup. Of course, this task is arduous, but this needs to be done for YOUR safety and it's a courtesy to other drivers who are also out and about. Some states will fine you if this is NOT taken care of, so be aware of the circumstances.

Plus while you are driving it is best to avoid using the cruise control option as you'll need to use the brakes to deactivate the designated speed and that could lead to a loss of control to your vehicle. It is best to go slow as you should maintain speeds between 20 and 30 miles per hour locally and no more than 30 to 40 per hour on the highway. It's hard to believe that many drivers continue to speed in open areas and that could lead to disaster in more ways than one.

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Keep a safe distance between you and other drivers as it takes more time and distance to make an abrupt stop while roads are slippery. This should take top priority especially during ice storms as it feels like you are driving on a skating rink. Believe me, you would rather take a foot of snow over this scenario any day.

Approach exiting highway ramps with caution. Also, bridge decks tend to freeze faster and that could also pose a problem while on the road, so to reiterate: "TAKE IT SLOW". Plus, if you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has this all important reminder:

"Remember that, if you are driving a 4 wheel drive vehicle, the vehicle may help you get going quicker but it WON'T help you stop any quicker. many 4 X 4mvehilcles are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually take longer to stop. Don't get overconfident in your 4 X 4 vehicle's traction"

Don't forget trucks are heavier than regular vehicles as they will take longer to safely respond to adjust towards inclement weather conditions. Your best bet: DO NOT cut quickly in front of a big rig as that is an accident waiting to happen. You'll thank me for this piece of sage advice, guaranteed.

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Joe Belanger
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In case you get stuck, Triple a AND Jiffy Lube suggest it is wise to prepare a winter kit which should include jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, non-clumping cat litter, a snow shovel, snow brushes, an ice scraper and a first aid kit. Plus, make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you hit the road and make sure your gas tank is at least half full.

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You can get a check list of these safe driving tips by logging on here. By following the rules of the road in detail during hazardous weather conditions result in each and every motorist getting safely from point A to point B. Just a reminder: Spring is NOT that far away as we'll get to warmer weather within a month and without a doubt, we are ALL counting the days until we'll reach that plateau, so let the countdown begin!

KEEP READING: Get answers to 51 of the most frequently asked weather questions...