winter driving

Winter Survival Safety Tips

Winter driving can be treacherous and challenging at times. 

Don’t get caught being unprepared! Winter survival safety tips can easily be forgotten this time of year. As many of us haven’t planned ahead or prepared for winter driving or adverse weather, and unfortunately get stuck or stranded and not have the proper gear to keep us safe.

We can be prepared for safe driving by following these simple winder survival safety tips.

  1. Plan Before you Travel
  2. Prepare your Vehicle
    • Check tires, have an annual tune-up
    • Pack emergency equipment
    • Keep gas tank at least half full
  3. Know the Weather Forecast
    • Listen to forecasts/storm warnings
    • Look at Road Reports
    • Pack extra clothing: hats, gloves, boots
  4. Allow Extra Time for Severe Weather
  5. Let Someone know your Route
  6. Make Yourself Easy to Find
    • If you stall or get stuck, tie a colored banner (from your winter survival kit) to your antenna or hang out a window
    • At night, remove the cover from your dome light and turn the light on. Road crews or rescue units can see a small glow at a considerable distance.
    • To reduce battery drain, use emergency flashers only if you hear approaching vehicles.
    • Keep one person on watch; don’t let everyone rest at the same time
  7. Stay in Your vehicle

Being prepared also includes creating a winter survival kit. Find a plastic container with a cover (leave in vehicle during winter months) to store the following items:

  • Candles and matches
  • Ice scraper
  • Jumper cables
  • Collapsible shovel
  • Small pocketknife or multi-purpose tool
  • Colored banner (bright colored bandana or small towel) to hang from antenna
  • Whistle
  • Paper and pencil
  • Cell phone adapter or battery pack
  • Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Plastic spoons
  • Snacks – Granola bars, protein bars; Raisins, dried fruit, nuts – trail mix; Canned soups and meats; Jerky; Mini candy bars, hard candies
  • If space allows, pack a larger plastic tote with extra blankets, mittens, hats, scarves, boots and socks.  The large tote can also house your survival kit and food items.

Winter driving can be challenging or even downright scary but planning ahead and being prepared can save your life.  Temperatures drop drastically when it starts getting dark, making it all that important to stay safe.  Remember to plan ahead and keep your winter survival safety tips in mind when heading out. For more winter weather resources, you can reach out to your State Highway Department.

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