It's always best to minimize travel during hazardous winter weather. However, if you can't postpone your trip, be sure you know the basics of winter weather driving and are fully equipped to safely make the journey!
For those that must drive, consider the following tips:
If you must drive:
· Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
· Keep an extra Ready Kit in the trunk of your car. In addition to the basic essentials, consider adding a portable cell phone charger, ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction and jumper cables.
· Follow directions from local officials about driving during snow and ice storms, and drive with caution.
· SLOW DOWN to at least half your normal speed and use a low gear as you drive.
· Don't stop when going up a hill. Build some momentum on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
· Do not use cruise control and avoid abrupt steering maneuvers.
· Be mindful of road crews working to clear the snow and ice from the roadway.
· Motorists should not pass a dump truck spreading the salt/gravel mixture, as gravel may bounce up and could break windshields. Follow at least 100 feet behind all vehicles.
· If you come to a traffic signal that is not working, treat it as a four-way stop.
· Beware of black ice, especially on bridges, overpasses and shady areas. Four-wheel-drive may help your vehicle get going in the slushy stuff, but it's of no use when you're trying to steer or safely stop on a slippery road surface.
· Watch for fallen trees or power lines.
· If at any point during your trip you feel that the weather is too bad to continue driving, simply stay put.
Stopped or Stalled?
· Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.
· Don't idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.
· Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm and to conserve your battery and gasoline. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
· Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion.