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TIP#6:  PREPARE A VEHICLE EMERGENCY KIT AND LEARN WINTER DRIVING SAFETY TIPS

 Prepare a Vehicle Emergency Kit

Winter storms can come on quickly, and it's important to be prepared.  The emergency kit for your car should be stored in your vehicle and include the following items:

  • Shovel
  • Traction mats/sand/cat litter
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Booster cables
  • Windshield washer fluid, fuel-line anti-freeze
  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Road maps and compass
  • Non-perishable energy foods - chocolate or granola bars, juice, soup, bottled water
  • Flashlights, matches, candles to warm hands or use as emergency light
  • Warning light or road flares
  • Small tool kit
  • Extra clothing and footwear
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency blankets

Winter Driving Safety

When driving in winter months, it is critical to stay alert, slow down and stay in control - drive according to the weather and road conditions. Be aware of other vehicles around you, maintain a safe following distance.

 At the start of the season, consider a winter tune-up for your vehicle, including having your tires checked for roadworthiness.

 

Stay off the road unless it is absolutely necessary that you drive. If you have to drive, take the right steps to prepare for your trip:

  • Clear the snow and ice from your vehicle - windows, lights, mirrors and the roof.
  • Once you start your vehicle, wait for the fog to clear from the inside of the windows to ensure visibility all around.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that doesn't restrict your movement while driving.
  • Plan your route ahead of time. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to arrive. Allow extra time for travel.

 When Driving

  • It takes longer to stop on slippery or icy roads. Leave extra space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. 
  • Look far ahead to observe road conditions and adjust your driving according to conditions.
  • Certain sections of road (bridges, overpasses, shaded areas) will freeze much sooner in cold weather and stay frozen longer. Watch out for icy patches on the road, areas that appear black and shiny.
  • Turn on your vehicle's full lighting system.

If you Experience Car Trouble - Stay in your Vehicle

  • Keep spare hats, scarfs and blankets in your vehicle.  Having some dried food is also advised.
  • Run the motor every ten minutes for heat and open a window occasionally for fresh air.  
  • Tie a bright cloth to your car, or clamp it in your window for visibility.
  • If you have to get out of your vehicle, be careful of traffic.
  • Keep your body warm by moving your feet, hands and arms.
  • Do not attempt to walk home if you have car problems.  Winter conditions can change quickly, and you may become disoriented and unable to find your way in blowing snow.
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Your gas tank should always be at least half full.  Yes that means more trips to the gas station.  It also means that if you are ever stuck in traffic or stranded in snowy weather, you know you have at least half a tank of gas to eventually get you where you are going.

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