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PHOENIX -- What's supposed to be a spontaneous, fun trip to Flagstaff or anywhere else in northern Arizona could turn out to be a nightmare for those unprepared to drive in winter weather conditions.

KTAR Car Guy Matt Allen said people will visit his shop after a trip with damage to their vehicle's suspension or body damage after they've slid off the road. Many times, the accident could have been avoided.

"We've seen people put chains on and they don't do it right," Allen said. "If that chain comes loose and it starts whipping around, you're going to destroy the side of the car or the undercarriage, potentially."

He offered some tips that might seem like no-brainers, but he said people always seem to forget them.

• Have a plan and let others know the destination

• Practice putting on tire chains before hitting the road

• Check fluid levels and tires

• Check battery, hoses, belts

• Make sure the car has windshield wiper fluid that won't freeze

• Stay on main roads and obey road closures

• Drive slower and accelerate slower

• Don't use cruise control

• Use headlights

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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