Safe Travel During Winter Weather
Before leaving home:
-Find out about the driving conditions and pay attention to weather reports on the radio.
-Remove any snow on your vehicle’s windows, lights, brake lights and signals.
-Check your vehicle’s tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts and hoses.
-Let someone know your destination, route and expected time of arrival.
-Become familiar with your vehicle’s winter weather operating characteristics. Front-wheel-drive vehicles generally handle better than rear-wheel vehicles on slippery roads because the weight of the engine is on the drive wheels, improving traction.
On the road:
-Keep your gas tank at least half full. Fill the tank before you park for lengthy periods. This will help prevent fuel line freeze-up.
-If you need to turn on your wipers, you need to turn on your lights.
-Remember to drive well below the posted speed limit and leave plenty of room between cars.
-Be cautious of black ice. Roads that seem dry may actually be slippery and dangerous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady areas.
-Stay attentive and reduce speeds during times of limited visibility.
-Give snowplows room to work. The plows are wide and can cross the centerline or shoulder. Do not tailgate and try not to pass.
-Give yourself space, remember it takes your car extra time to stop on slick and snowy roads
-Understand your vehicles brakes and how they work. Brake early, brake slowly, brake correctly, and never “slam on the breaks.”
-When driving on ice and snow, do not use cruise control and avoid abrupt steering maneuvers.
-Take it slow when merging into traffic.
-Be aware of what is going on a head of you because actions by other vehicles will alert you to problems more quickly giving you that split-second of extra time to react safely.
What to do if you become stranded:
If you are involved in an accident or slide-off, encounter vehicle trouble or become stuck in the snow it’s important to stay calm and take a few precautions to help you stay safe and help rescuers find you.
-Remain calm. Chances for rescue are better if you remain calm and in your vehicle.
-Do not leave your car, it is the best protection you have.
-Run the engine for 10 minutes every hour to stay warm. An idling car only uses about one gallon of gas per hour.
-If you don’t have a cell phone to call for help, tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna for rescuers to see.
-Light a flare or turn on a flashlight to let others know you’re stranded in the vehicle
-Keep the overhead light on when the engine is running so you can be seen (remember to keep the windows cracked).
-Keep the exhaust pipe free of blockage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
-Use floor mats, seat covers and blankets for added warmth. If you must leave your vehicle during a severe snow storm or blizzard, secure a line of rope or cod to yourself and the vehicle to avoid becoming lost or disoriented.
-Keep bottled water in your vehicle emergency kit. Never eat snow. It will chill you and lower your body temperature.
Source: Indiana Department of Homeland Security - Winter Weather Safety