by: David Maillie
Winter driving can be hazardous and stressful. Wind, snow,
ice and blizzard conditions increase the normal dangers of driving. There
is a lot you can do before the winter driving season and during a storm to
protect yourself and your family.
Before winter arrives, have your car inspected to be sure
it is ready for the road conditions. You can do this yourself or take it
to a qualified mechanic. Check the battery, wipers and fluid, thermostat,
brakes, ignition system, antifreeze, exhaust system, lights, oil level,
heater and defrosters. Make sure everything is in good working order to
keep you safe throughout the cold weather.
Check your tires to be sure they are road ready. Install
tires that are appropriate for the driving conditions. In moderate amounts
of snow, all weather radials will do the job nicely. If you live in a
climate where you experience a lot of snow, consider snow tires. These
have better tread to deal with snow and ice.
Prepare an emergency kit to keep in the back of your car.
This will ensure that you are prepared in the event that you get stuck in
the snow. Things to include in the kit:
Kitty litter or a bag of sand (to give traction if you get stuck in snow
Blankets or a sleeping bag
Flashlight with batteries
Flares or warning triangles
First aid kit
Bright cloth to use as a flag
Help sign for back window
Extra hat and gloves
Food and water to sustain you if you get stuck
A book, Bible or Prayer Cards to keep you busy and calm in the event you
Charged cell phone (always carry this, especially in the winter)
Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times. This
adds weight to the car and will ensure that you won’t run out of gas in
the event you get stuck.
Driving in the Snow
Pay attention to the weather forecasts and road conditions
in the winter months. If the weather is bad, stay home if at all possible.
If you must venture out, travel in the daylight. You are more likely to
find help if you get stuck during the day. Never warm up your vehicle in
the garage. This releases carbon monoxide, which is toxic and can kill
When driving, always wear your seatbelt. Wear sunglasses
to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun reflecting off the snow.
Know your car and how it handles in the snow. Features like traction
control and antilock brakes can be useful in bad weather conditions. Know
how these work and if your car is new, practice driving it in a snow
covered parking lot before venturing out on the road.
Take it slow, especially in icy conditions. Don’t tailgate
and be sure to allow a safe distance between vehicles. Do everything
slowly, stopping, accelerating and turning. Leave plenty of time and space
to maneuver. Sliding and skidding usually happen when turning, stopping or
accelerating. Going extra slow will ensure your safety.
If the visibility is low, slow down even more. Consider
getting off highways and driving even slower. This will take you out of
the path of large trucks that can cause accidents. Use only your low
beams, as your high beams will reflect back off the snow and won’t
increase your visibility. Turn on your hazard lights to be sure other
drivers see you.
In the event your car gets stuck, don’t get out. Put up
the hood and tie your cloth to the antennae. This will make you more
visible to emergency vehicles and other drivers. Keep the windows, air
grill and tail pipe clear of snow. Wrap up in blankets and huddle up with
passengers to stay warm. Run the heat for fifteen minutes each hour to
keep from freezing. Move your body around to stay warm.
Keeping your car clean throughout the winter is important.
Salt on the roads is important for safety, but will wreak havoc on the
finish. If left on for long periods, it can cause rusting. Wash your
vehicle weekly to remove salt and wax to protect the paint. Salt also
leaves a coating on your headlights that can impair their operation. This
will make you less visible to other vehicles. New Lite Headlight Cleaner
and Restorer will return the lights to like new condition.
About The Author
David Maillie is a chemist with over 12 years experience
in biochemical research and clynical analysis. He is an alumni of Cornell
University and specializes in biochemical synthesis for public, private,
and governmental interests. He holds numerous patents including his
recently awarded patent for headlight cleaner and restorer. He can be
reached at M.D. Wholesale: