Saturday, January 15, 2011
of your vehicle’s battery by at least 50 percent.
It can freeze tires and keep them flat on the bottom for
at least the first half-mile of travel. It can thicken your
car’s lubricants, making the engine work too hard.
Most importantly, extreme winter weather can threaten
your life. Follow these tips to stay safe as you drive
Plan Before You Travel
Simple planning can save you trouble and even save
Prepare Your Vehicle
Be sure your vehicle is in good winter driving condition.
Take along the emergency equipment referred to in this
booklet and keep it accessible.
Keep your gas tank at least one-half full.
Be Aware of the Weather
Listen to forecasts, road reports and storm warnings.
Dress appropriately. Pack extra scarves and mittens.
Allow extra time for trips in severe weather.
Make Yourself Easy to Find
Tell someone where you are going and the route you
will take. Report your safe arrival. If you stall or get
stuck, tie a colored banner (from your winter survival
kit) to your antenna or hang it out a window. At night,
remove the cover from your dome light and turn the
light on. Road crews or rescue units can see a small
glow at a considerable distance. To reduce battery
drain, use emergency flashers only if you hear
approaching vehicles. Keep one person on watch;
don’t let everyone rest at the same time.
Stay in Your Vehicle
Walking in a storm can be very dangerous. You might
lose your way or become exhausted, collapse and risk
your life. Your vehicle is a good shelter.
Shoveling snow or repositioning your car by pushing it
takes a lot of effort in storm conditions. You could risk
heart attack or injury. Take it easy!
Keep Cool — Two Ways
1. Calm down and think. The storm will end
and you will be found.
2. Don’t work enough to get hot and sweaty.
Wet clothing loses insulation value, making you
susceptible to hypothermia.
Keep Fresh Air in Your Vehicle
It’s much better to be cold and awake than comfortably
warm and sleepy. Wet or wind-driven snow can plug
your vehicle’s exhaust system and cause deadly carbon
monoxide gas to enter your vehicle. Don’t run the
engine unless you are sure the exhaust pipe is free
of snow. Keep snow off the radiator to prevent the
engine from overheating.
Stay Warm Without Fuel
Keep your blood circulating freely by loosening tight
clothing, changing positions frequently and moving
your arms and legs. Huddle close to one another.
Rub your hands together or put them in your armpits
or between your legs. Remove your shoes occasionally
and rub your feet.
Don’t Expect to Be Comfortable
The challenge is to survive until you’re found.
Making a Winter Driving Survival Kit
Use an empty three-pound coffee can or any similar
container with a plastic cover to store the following
- Small candles and matches
- Small, sharp knife and plastic spoons
- Red bandanna or cloth
- Pencil and paper
- Large plastic garbage bag
- Safety pins
- Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter
- Plastic flashlight and spare batteries
Reverse batteries in the flashlight to avoid accidental
switching and burnout. Warm batteries before using
them. Store safety items in the passenger compartment
when severe winter weather threatens in case
the trunk is jammed or frozen shut. Choose small
packages of food that you can eat hot or cold.
Suggested food items:
- Raisins in small packets
- Semi-sweet chocolate in pieces for sharing
- Miniature candy bars
- Chewing gum
- Wrapped hard candies
- Food bars
- Canned soup, meat and poultry
Store bulky and heavy items in an
- 30-foot cord to use as homing line when you must
exit the vehicle
- Booster cables
- Basic tools
- Sand, cat litter or other grit in a plastic milk carton
- Tow cables or chain
- Sleeping bag or blankets
- Road flares and reflectors
- Snowmobile suit and heavy boots
Winter Driving Tips
Be Able to See and Be Seen
Clean frost and snow off all windows, mirrors, lights
and reflectors. Equip your car with good wiper blades
and keep an ample supply of windshield washer fluid.
If visibility is poor, use headlamps.
Get a Feel for the Road
When you first start out, accelerate carefully to test
wheel-spin and brake gently to test skidding.
Use the accelerator and brakes slowly to maintain
control of your vehicle. Fast acceleration can make
wheels spin on ice and snow. Brake with a gentle
pumping action. Stepping too hard on the pedal will
lock the brakes and cause loss of steering control.
Increase Your Following Distance
Ice or snow can multiply your stopping distance up
to ten times.
Make Turns Slowly and Gradually
Heavily traveled intersections can become “polished”
and slick. Brake before you come to a curve, not while
you are in it.
Turn in the Direction of the Skid
If the rear of your car begins to slide, turn into the
direction of the skid. Expect a second skid as the car
straightens out, and be prepared to counter this
Scattered Slippery Spots
Icy spots on the road surface can cause loss of
steering control. Do not use your brake. Take your
foot off the gas and steer as straight as possible until
your car slows to a safe speed.
Avoiding a Collision
In an emergency situation, you can intentionally steer
your car off the road and into a snow bank. You may
get stuck, but you’ll avoid a crash.
Found at: Minnesota Department of Public Safety