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December 27, 2009

Checklist:

  • Before bad weather comes, get your car checked – especially the tires.
  • Keep extra clothes and blankets in your car.
  • Depending on the stretches of road you plan to travel, you might want to keep food and water in your car. If you have an accident and go off¬†the road where no one can see you, at least you will be able to eat, drink, and keep warm until help comes.
  • Keep a windshield scraper and de-icer in your car.
  • It wouldn’t hurt to have a flashlight with you. Extra batteries for the flashlight is a good idea. This is good to keep in your car all year around.
  • Don’t forget jumper cables. This is also good to keep around all year.
  • Make sure you have a spare tire and the tools needed to change a tire. This should always be kept in your car, no matter what time of year it is.
  • Another good all-year-round item to keep in your car is a First Aid Kit.
  • I’ve heard that kitty litter can help you get out of a tight spot, say if your car slides off the road and into an icy ditch. Kitty litter might help your car get some traction over the ice.
  • If you have a cell phone, bring it!

Tips:

  • Obviously, don’t drive so fast! Seriously, no matter how late you may be to an appointment, it is not worth your life. And it’s not just your life you could be risking. There are millions of other people out there on the road. Drive defensively, not offensively. And remember that in wet or icy conditions, even driving the speed limit could be considered too fast.
  • Leave more space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Don’t use cruise control in rain or snow or ice. Cruise control will not know to slow down when there is black ice in the road. It won’t be able to control how fast the tires spin when your car hydroplanes over a wet road and you could easily lose control of the car.
  • Be careful over bridges and shallow places in the road where extra water and ice might have accumulated. Bridges and shallow dips in the road tend to hide more black ice.
  • Make sure that your headlights and taillights have all been scraped free of snow and ice. If it is snowing, it will already be difficult to see you. Keeping your car lights visible can help.
  • Make sure you scrape all the snow and ice off your outdoor car mirrors.
  • And don’t forget to scrape the snow and ice of all your windows too. You want to be able to see as well as possible in bad weather.
  • Don’t forget that you and all your passengers, including pets,¬†should be wearing a seat belt or should be safely strapped into the vehicle.
  • The best tip is to stay home in really bad weather. Obviously, you will have to drive your car somewhere at some time, but weigh the risks first.
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