Winter conditions can turn treacherous in an instant. Even on a short trip, you can find yourself stranded for several hours, so it’s important to plan ahead. Here are some tips to be better prepared:
1. Prepare Your Vehicle
Get ready by checking:
• Hoses and fan belts
• Spark plugs
• Fluid levels
• Battery strength
• Tire pressure and tread life
• Air, fuel, and emission filters
• Spare tire and jack
2. Follow Winter Driving Guides
Before you start your vehicle:
• Don’t warm in a closed garage.
• Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent gas line freeze-up.
• Make sure your exhaust pipe is not clogged with mud or snow.
• Don’t use cruise control on icy roads.
• Allow more time for braking when visibility is poor.
• Stay calm if you start to skid.
3. Carry Emergency Supplies
Always carry jumper cables, tire-changing tools, a flashlight, and a first aid kit. Include these items:
• A small, folding shovel
• Tow and tire chains
• Basic tool kit
• Bag of road salt or cat litter
• Windshield wiper fluid
• Warning flares
• Tire chains (know how to install!)
4. Pack a Survival Kit
Traveling in an area where you could get stranded? Carry these useful items:
• Ice scraper and brush
• Wooden matches
• Non-perishable food
• Prescription medicine
• Cell phone charger
• Blankets and warm clothing
5. Stranded? Stay Calm!
Follow these tips:
• Pull off the highway, if possible, turn on your hazard lights or light flares, and hang a distress flag from an antenna or window.
• Call 911 and describe your location as precisely as possible.
• Remain in your vehicle.
• Run your vehicle’s engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. Crack open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and clear snow from the exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Exercise a little to maintain body heat but avoid sweating.
• Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
Let’s all be safe this year!
Plan ahead and be prepared!