To safely drive in winter weather, it’s important to prepare for the trip, protect yourself and prevent crashes on the road.
Maintain your car
• Check battery, tire tread and windshield wipers; keep your windows clear; put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir, and check your antifreeze.
Have on hand
• Flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication and cellphone.
Stopped or stalled
• Stay in your car, don’t overexert, put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine dome light. If you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.
Plan your route
• Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if necessary), be familiar with the maps and directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.
Practice cold weather driving
• During daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot.
• Steer into a skid.
• Know what your brakes will do: stomp on anti-lock brakes, pump other brakes.
• Stopping distances are longer on ice even when covered with water.
• Don’t idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.
• Buckle up and use child safety seats properly.
• Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.
• Children, 12 and under, are much safer in the back seat.
• Drugs and alcohol never mix with driving.
• Slow down and increase distances between cars.
• Watch for pedestrians walking in the road.
• Avoid fatigue – Get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least every two hours, and rotate drivers if possible.
• If you are planning to drink, designate a sober driver.