Prepare for winter weather driving
Are you ready to take on the winter roads?
As the seasons change from the heat of summer to the coolness of fall, uncertain weather patterns and road conditions are likely. Rain can easily change to sleet, ice, hail and snow when temperatures plunge below freezing.
Whenever you're preparing to drive in fall or winter, think about these questions:
- Do you have an emergency plan in place in case you are stranded?
- Does your vehicle have a fully-stocked emergency kit?
Are your family members (and for a business, your employees) trained on emergency procedures and how to use the supply kit?
What to put in your winter driving emergency car kit
An emergency kit takes up little space and can be used year-round in case you are stranded in your car. You can purchase a pre-built kit or create your own at home.
Keep an emergency kit in each vehicle that includes such items as:
- Drinking water
- First aid kit with bandages and antiseptic
- High-calorie food (like energy bars) that does not require cooking
- Battery powered AM/FM radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries in the correct size
- Emergency banner that says "Call Police" or "Need Help"
- Bucket with a lid
- Plastic trash bags
- Universal manual cell phone charger
- Any other items that may be useful
- An inventory of the contents of the kit
Be sure to include items that suits your family or business. If you have children or pets, include things like diapers, baby formula and dog food. For your business, make sure your kits include a copy of the company's emergency action plan, particularly as applicable to field operations and work related business.
Know what to do if you get stranded
Before you hit the roads this winter, make sure everyone in your family and business knows what to do if they ever become stranded in dangerous weather.
- Ensure that your vehicle maintenance is completed prior to the onset of winter so that it will be road-worthy.
- Don't start driving until you're aware of the road and weather conditions and have planned a safe route. If you're using a mobile app to check traffic conditions, do it before you put the car in drive.
- Follow safe driving procedures, particularly any conditions issued by local authorities.
If you do run into trouble on the road this winter ...
- Never leave a stranded vehicle unless appropriate shelter is close by. If possible, leave a note stating where you have taken shelter so that rescuers will know where you are.
- Safely pull to the shoulder of the road and put on your hazard flashers.
- Mount the distress banner or flag from a window or radio antennae.
- Conserve fuel by only running the engine and heater approximately 10 minutes out of each hour. Remember to slightly lower a window that is downwind so that you are not in danger of being poisoned by carbon monoxide.
- Stay warm by using blankets, coats, or spare clothing such as coveralls, or huddling with others who are stranded with you.
Get prepared for winter weather road conditions before they hit, so you can protect yourself, your family, your employees and other drivers on the road with you.