How to plan for inclement weather

1.

Make sure you have prepared your vehicle for safe driving. Check your fluid levels. It is especially important to make sure to have washer fluid and anti-freeze at the proper levels. Often winter driving will bring oils and sand and dirt up off of the roadway causing hazardous conditions if the windshield cannot be easily cleaned at a moments notice.

2.

Check tire pressure and tread. Make sure that you have enough tread on your tires or better yet, switch to studded tires or all season tires during winter months. Proper inflation will help you to maintain control of your vehicle.

3.

Keep a blanket or two, jumper cables, snow shovel, flares and a flashlight in your car during winter months. Snacks and a beverage are also good options. Water is best for beverages. Some people also carry sand or a large bag of cat litter in the trunk. This can double as weight or to assist you if you slide off the road and need to use it for traction.

4.

Warm clothing is another great thing to have on hand in case you slid into a ditch or break down out there.

A cell phone is great to have on hand also to call for assistance should you break down or slide off of the road. Call 911 and tell them your location. If you are unsure where you are try to recall the most recent mile marker or exit you passed. The more detail you can give the better for them to locate you.

Even if you don't have cell phone service, use an old cell phone or borrow a friends old cell phone and keep it charged. All cell phones are capable of dialing 911 in any emergency as long as they have battery life.

If you are traveling a long distance make sure to let family members or a trusted friend know your planned route and when you should be arriving. Should you be late or delayed it might be important information in helping to locate you.

5.

Clear your car completely of snow and ice before you begin driving. Melting snow or ice sliding down your windshield can cause obstructed vision and momentarily distract you. Many collisions have occurred in this fashion. Also make sure to clear headlights and tail lights and drive with your lights on to increase visibility.

6.

Keep the air on inside of your car. Either defrost or a setting that assists you in keeping the windows clear. If the windows tend to fog up pull over in a safe area and wipe the inside of the windows as needed (keep a rag handy for this task if it happens often in your car).

7.

Keep an eye on your local forecast and leave earlier than normal if you have to be someplace at a specific time. Drive slower. Remember that the speed limits are given for normal driving conditions. You are not required to go the speed limit in hazardous conditions but rather are expected to slow down accordingly. Apply your brakes slowly and steadily. Do not slam on brakes as this can cause your car to slide. Allow plenty of distance between yourself and the car in front of you.

8.

Keep seat belts fastened at all times and don't take chances trying to pass that slow car in front of you. Chances are they are driving slow because of the weather and you should be too.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you don't have to be out in inclement weather don't go out.
  • Travel with at least one other companion.
  • In winter months don't be caught off guard. Winter driving can be hazardous to your health and safety.