Winter is definitely here, even if the ground isn't blanketed in white. It’s only a matter of time before the snow and ice come our way and that means that it is time for drivers to be prepared for winter weather travel. This is particularly true if you will be travelling over the holidays.
A big part of travelling safely in winter weather means taking steps ahead of time to have your vehicle properly maintained and equipped for those unexpected snowy and icy roads. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to for a winter car inspection to make sure that your tires, breaks, windshield wipers and wiper fluid are all in good condition. That inspection should also ensure that you have a good battery, antifreeze, and oil that can stand up to extreme temperatures.
Taking care of your car and getting it ready to run in cold weather is crucial to safe driving. Most car accidents/car crashes can be avoided with preparation and attentiveness. But just as important is being prepared for when you might get stranded on the road. That’s why it is really necessary to have a good winter survival kit in the trunk of your car. The Missouri Department of Transportation recommends that you stock this survival kit with:
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- A first-aid kit
- Any necessary medications
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Extra outer-wear such as mittens, socks, hats and rain gear
- Nonperishable foods such as crackers or granola bars
- Bottled water
- A small shovel
- Sand to use for traction under your wheels
- Booster cables
- A small toolkit with pliers, wrench and a screwdriver
- A brightly colored cloth to use as a flag
If you do get stranded, the safest place to stay is with your vehicle. It is easy to become lost in winter storm conditions, and even brief exposure to the elements can be dangerous. That’s why you want to make sure that your car is equipped not only with the tools to get you un-stranded, but the bare necessities to keep you safe, warm and fed if you are stranded.
And of course, slow down. If you have to be somewhere at a certain time, leave early. Eliminate distractions, especially when the conditions are bad – put your phone away, turn down the radio – focus on the road. Most car crashes occur simply because one of the drivers isn't paying attention. When you add snow and ice to that equation, the results can be deadly.