It’s been a mild winter for most and even though it’s already February, we still have a few more weeks of cold weather to endure. Snowy weather can make driving difficult so know how to prepare yourself, your family and your car for a wintry road trip with these tips.
Before you leave:
- Make sure your vehicle is in peak operating condition by having it inspected by an approved auto repair facility.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
- Watch the weather reports before you leave, especially if you’re visiting an isolated area. Delay your trip when bad weather is expected. However if you must leave, let others know your destination, planned route, and estimated time of arrival.
- Pack a roadside emergency kit that includes blankets, gloves, hats, food, water, important medication, and matches or a lighter. (Remember: newer vehicles no longer have a built-in lighter). Also, pack some sort of warning device like lights, flares or hazard triangles.
- If you can, simply stay home; don’t tempt fate. Even if you drive well in the snow, not everyone else can.
If you become stuck in the snow:
- Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow.
- Stay with your vehicle; it provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window as a distress signal.
- If you become stranded after dark, keep the dome light on. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
- Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. If the engine is running, a blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide fumes to leak into the passenger compartment.
- Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.
- If possible, run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill while trying to conserve gasoline.
I hope these winter weather driving tips help keep you safe and warm in the car. Just remember, hope for the best but plan for the worst. Do you have any other tips for driving in snow? Please share them in the comments below!