Snow, ice, poor visibility and extreme cold can easily disable your vehicle or make roads impassable. Rather than finding yourself stranded for several hours, here are some tips on how to plan for the worst during winter months.
Prepare your vehicle for winter. The best time to get ready for winter is before a big storm. Some items to check include:
- Hoses and fan belts
- Spark plugs
- Antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid levels
- Battery strength
- Tire pressure and tread life
- Air, fuel and emission filters
- Spare tire and jack
Follow winter driving recommendations. Winter driving has its own set of challenges, from the moment you start up your vehicle. Here are some useful winter driving suggestions:
- Never warm up your vehicle in a closed garage.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent gas line freeze-up.
- Make sure your exhaust pipe is not clogged with mud or snow.
- Don’t use cruise control on icy roads.
- Allow more time for braking when visibility is poor.
- Stay calm if you start to skid.
Carry emergency supplies. In addition to the just-in-case items you should always have in your vehicle, such as jumper cables, tire-changing tools, flashlight and first aid kit, be sure to include these winter essentials:
- Small folding shovel
- Tow and tire chains
- Basic tool kit
- Bag of road salt or cat litter
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Warning flares
Pack a survival kit. In case you’re ever stranded in your vehicle, you might want to keep a small survival kit on hand. Some useful items include:
- Ice scraper and brush
- Wooden matches
- High-energy, non-perishable food
- Cell phone charger
- Blankets and warm clothing
Stay calm if stranded. If a winter storm strands you in your vehicle, follow these tips:
- Pull off the highway, if possible, turn on your hazard lights or light flares and hang a distress flag from an antenna or window.
- Call 911 and describe your location as precisely as possible.
- Remain in your vehicle so help can find you.
- Run your vehicle’s engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm.
- Open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and clear snow from the exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Exercise a little to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion and sweating.
- Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Conserve your vehicle’s battery. Use lights, heat and radio sparingly.
- At night, turn on an inside light when you run the engine so rescuers can see you.
Learn more winter tips at: http://learningcenter.statefarm.com/.