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Winter Driving Tips

Many people are forced to drive in far from perfect winter storm conditions. If possible, take public transportation or stay out of dangerous weather altogether. If you must travel by car, drive in the day with passengers and keep others informed of your schedule. By implementing the following, you will increase your safety:

  • Stay on main roads and avoid back roads and shortcuts.
  • Keep your car "winterized" by checking antifreeze and other fluids regularly and using snow tires.
  • Carry a winter car kit in the trunk of your car that has a shovel, windshield scraper, battery-powered radio, flash-light, extra batteries, water, snack food, mittens, hat, blanket, tow chain or rope, tire chains, bag of road salt, sand, a fluorescent distress flag, booster cables, road maps, and emergency flares.
  • If a blizzard traps you in your car, pull off the highway. Turn on your hazard lights and hang a distress flag from the radio aerial or window.
  • 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.
  • Be careful when walking as distances are distorted by blowing snow. A building may seem close but be too far to walk to in deep snow.
  • Run the engine and heater about ten minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a window slightly for ventilation. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Periodically clear away snow from the exhaust pipe. Be careful not to use up battery power. Balance electrical energy needs such as the use of lights, heat, and radio - with supply.
  • At night, turn on the inside dome light so work crews can see you.
  • In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.
  • Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to look out for rescue crews.
  • If stranded in a remote rural or wilderness area, spread a large cloth over the snow to attract attention of rescue personnel who may be surveying the area by airplane.