Being Prepared for Winter Travel

Winter weather can lead to a higher risk of crashes due to poor road conditions. Snow, ice, wind, and extreme cold can cause many hazards, especially when driving. It can be scary and dangerous. The best thing you can do is be prepared!

Here are some tips to keep you prepared for traveling in winter weather!

Know before you go: Always check the weather before you plan to travel. If it looks like the weather could be bad, plan to leave earlier or later to avoid it. Check for road conditions.

Check your car: Make sure all lights are working properly, be sure there is enough window wiper fluid, and check the tires. Cold air can affect the tire pressure. All snow and ice should be cleared from the car before you drive.

Gas it up: Keep at least a half a tank of gas in your car. Then if a detour is needed or you get stuck, you have plenty to spare. It’s just as easy to keep the top half of the tank full as the bottom.

Have an emergency kit: An ice scraper (preferably with a brush) should always be in your car during the winter months. Consider also carrying a first aid kit, blanket, flashlight, small shovel, non-perishable snacks, some drinking water, and some basic tools.

Plan your route: Plan ahead and do your research to know which roads would be the best to travel on. Always give yourself extra travel time.

Stay connected: Share your planned route. Let others know when you leave and arrive safely. Touch base when making any stops so someone knows where you are if something were to happen. Make sure your phone is fully charged before you leave. Carry a charger just in case.

Keep emergency numbers handy: Have all important numbers in your phone. Consider having the most important numbers also either memorized or written down.

Stay with your car: If you find yourself stuck, stay with your car. You will have shelter and won’t get lost. Make sure your car can be seen. Use your flashers. Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear and don’t run your car constantly. This will prevent poisoning and preserve power.

Slow down: Stay slow and keep control. When the roads could be slick, it is more difficult to control or stop a vehicle. Remember, don’t crowd a plow! They typically move slow, make wide turns, stop, and exit the roadways more frequently.

Remove large coats: It’s necessary to wear a heavy coat when it’s cold outside. However, continuing to do so in the car can hinder safety. The extra layers can leave the seatbelt loose. This is especially an issue for children in a car seat. Put them in seat without a coat on, then once the harness is secure wrap a coat or blanket around the child. Always be sure to have a coat and extra layers with you in case of unexpected car problems.

Don’t leave children in the car: During the summer months you are told not to leave children in the car due to the extreme heat. Similarly, you should not leave children in the car in the extreme cold either, especially unattended.

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