The winter season has proven to make roads extremely dangerous. According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17 percent of car crashes occur during the wintertime, with an average of 800 annual deaths from 2011-2015.

Some states that tend to be highly affected by winter car crashes are Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania — but dangerous road conditions can turn up just about anywhere. Snow and ice can result in wet and slippery roads, and heavy rains can also make for poor driving conditions.

To ensure safety in these wintry conditions, here are some tips for driving during the cold months.

  1. Ready your vehicle before the arrival of the winter season
  2. Drive with low beams, even during the day 
  3. Avoid cruise control 
  4. Slow down and be patient 
  5. Keep an appropriate distance from surrounding cars
  6. Make sure tires have adequate treads 
  7. If your car beings to skid, do not panic 
  8. Keep windows clear
  9. Stay informed of changing weather conditions and alternate routes. 
  10. If weather conditions are poor and you can, stay home 

In addition, do not forget to service your vehicle to ensure that everything is functioning properly.

"Replace windshield wiper inserts that leave streaks or don’t clear the glass in a single swipe," AAA suggests on its website. "Make sure all headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are properly functioning so other drivers will see you during downpours. Turn on your headlights whenever you drive."

Remember when driving to err on the side of caution. If another car appears to be driving recklessly, particularly in inclement weather, attempt to find a safe place to pull over and let the other vehicle pass.