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Prepare for Winter Driving
Before the Winter Flurries
- Wipers and windshield washer fluid
- Ignition system
- Flashing hazard lights
- Exhaust system
- Oil level (if necessary, replace existing oil with a winter grade oil or the SAE 10w/30 weight variety)
Before You Hit the Road
Install Good Winter Tires
Prepare a Winter Car Kit to Keep in Your Car
- Windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal
- Small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels
- Set of tire chains or traction mats
- Booster/jumper cables
- Small shovel
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Small tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver)
- Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag
- A cell phone to call for help. Be sure to have a cell phone charger in the car.
- Extra set of mittens, socks, and a wool cap
- Several blankets
- Sleeping bags
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Bottled water
- Necessary medications
- Canned fruit and nuts (Choose ones with pull tabs or screw on caps.)
- Non-electric can opener
- Matches and a lighter
- Extra newspapers for insulation
- Plastic bags (for sanitation)
- Cards, games, and puzzles
Other Helpful Hints
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going.
- Plan long trips carefully. Listen to the radio or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions. Always travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person.
- Let others know where you are going and what route you plan on taking.
- Stay on main roads. Avoid back roads and shortcuts.
- Dress warmly and wear layers of loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing.
- If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation.
What to Do When Bad Weather Hits
Snow, Sleet, and Freezing Rain
If You Get Stuck
Surviving a Blizzard
Stay in the Car
Display a Trouble Sign
Occasionally Run Engine to Keep Warm
Watch for Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia
American Automobile Association https://www.aaa.com
Federal Emergency Management Agency http://www.fema.gov
Canada Safety Council http://www.safety-council.org
Canadian Automobile Associatin https://www.caa.ca
511: America's Traveler Information Telephone Number. US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration website. Available at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/511.htm. Updated April 24, 2012. Accessed March 29, 2013.
Driving in fog. The Weather Channel website. Available at: http://www.weather.com/activities/driving/drivingsafety/drivingsafetytips/fog.html. Accessed March 19, 2013.
Driving in snow and ice. The Weather Channel website. Available at: http://www.weather.com/activities/driving/drivingsafety/drivingsafetytips/snow.html. Accessed March 19, 2013.
How to go on ice and snow. American Automobile Association website. Available at: http://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/GoInSnowBrochure.pdf. Updated October 10, 2010. Accessed March 19, 2013.
Winter driving—emergency car kit. Washington State Department of Transportation website. Available at: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter/emergencykit.htm. Accessed March 19, 2013.
Winter driving tips. AAA Southern New England website. Available at: http://www.southernnewengland.aaa.com/sne/public%5Faffairs/winterdrivekit.php. Updated . Accessed March 19, 2013.
Winter storms and extreme cold. Federal Emergency Management Agency website. Available at: http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather. Updated February 11, 2013. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 03/2013
- Update Date: 03/19/2013