Are you ready to drive in winter weather? Be prepared with these safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Before You Go
Service Your Car. Regular maintenance of your vehicle is important especially when it comes to winter weather. Visit your mechanic or trusted dealership for a winter tune-up and ask them to check for leaks, badly worn hoses, or other needed parts, repairs, and replacements.
Check for Recalls. Learn if your vehicle has any critical safety issues that has not been repaired by using the NHTSA’s Recalls Look-up Tool. Check for free at www.nhtsa.gov/recalls
Know Your Car. Be familiar with your vehicle’s manual to learn about your car’s safety features (antilock brakes and electronic stability control)- and how the features perform in winter weather.
Plug It In. For electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, minimize the drain on the battery. If the vehicle has a thermal heating pack for the battery, plug your vehicle in whenever it is not in use. Start your vehicle and preheat the interior before you unplug your vehicle in the morning.
Plan Your Travel and Route. Traveling far for the holidays or to grab that fresh tree at the local farm? Plan your trip before you leave. Map out the trip and watch the news to check for any weather advisories, road conditions and traffic. Allow for plenty of time to get to your destination safely. Look over your route and familiarize yourself with the directions and maps before you leave even if you are using a GPS or your phone. Do not forget to let others know where you are traveling in case of any emergencies.
Stock Your Vehicle:
1. Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper.
2. Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter in case you are stuck in the snow.
3. Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers.
4. Blankets for protection from the cold.
5. Cell phone with charge, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly populated areas).
On The Road:
Stay Alert. Keep gas tank close to full whenever possible, and on longer trips. Change drivers when tired. Wait to return calls or text messages when you take a break or break at a rest stop.
Avoid Risky Driving Behaviors such as:
· Do not text or drive distracted.
· Obey the posted speed limits.
· Do not drink or take drugs whether legal or illicit as both can cause impairment. Alcohol and drugs can impair the skills critical for safe and responsible driving such as coordination, judgment, perception, and reaction time.
Driving in Winter conditions. SLOW DOWN. It is harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface.
Navigating Around Snowplows. Do not crowd a snowplow or travel beside one. Snowplows travel slowly and make wide turns. They stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently. The road behind an active snowplow is safer to drive on. If you find yourself behind a snowplow, stay behind it or use caution when passing.
In An Emergency:
If you are stopped or stalled in wintry weather, follow these safety rules:
· Stay with your car.
· Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light turned on.
· To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, do not run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed spaced. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow, and run it only sporadically- just long enough to stay warm.
** Select insurance carriers also offer discounts to your auto policy if you complete a winter driving program/course. Learn more with the Winter Driving School at Road America Here.
Remember to use these safety tips from the NHTSA to prepare you and your family for the winter weather. Contact Paroubek Insurance and speak to a trusted advisor about choosing the right coverages for you and your loved ones. Stay Safe and Happy Holidays from Paroubek Insurance!
Learn more about driving in winter weather from NHTSA below: