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Tens of thousands of people are killed each year in auto accidents. An accident can happen in a matter of seconds. While many people will focus their New Year’s resolutions on losing weight or quitting smoking, I encourage you to resolve to drive safer and to encourage those you love to do the same.

Here are some tips to driving safer in 2011:

* Buckle up and encourage everyone in the vehicle to do the same.

* Do not eat while you are driving. Many accidents happen when drivers are picking up food they have dropped.

* Do not tailgate. The closer you are to the vehicle in front of you, the less time you have when a sudden stop occurs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that you leave a two-second cushion between your car and the one in front of you.

* Stay wide awake. If you need to stop or take a nap, then pull over.

* Keep your vehicle in good repair. Make sure all 4 tires are at the recommended tire pressure. Do not ignore the check engine light.

* Do not be a distracted driver. No texting, using your cell, or changing the CD while you are driving.

* Do not drink and drive.

* Pay attention in crosswalks and watch for pedestrians.

* Remove ice and snow from your vehicle before leaving.

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