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Winter Survival on the Road

The following tips on traveling in winter weather will make your trip safer. No one drives during bad winter weather unless they must. However, business or holiday plans often make winter traveling necessary. The following tips on traveling in winter weather will make your trip safer.

1. Plan your trip carefully by listening to weather reports and travelers' advisories and keeping an alternate route in mind. Let someone know where you are going and what time you plan to arrive. Travel by daylight and use major highways if possible. Try not to travel alone.

2. Keep your gas tank as full as possible, especially if you are unfamiliar with the route you are traveling or are entering open country and also to help prevent gas line freeze-up.

3. Don't overdress when driving. Even on short trips, your clothing should be loose fitting and comfortable. Heavy clothing should be removed after the car has warmed up. Pull over to the side of the road instead of struggling out of heavy clothing while driving.

4. If you should get stranded on the road during a winter storm, keep calm. Give some indication you are in trouble -turn on your 4 way flashing lights, raise the hood, or tie a cloth on an antenna or door handle. Do not stop under an overpass.

  • Stay in the car. Do not try to walk from the car unless you can see a shelter within a reasonable distance; disorientation comes quickly during a blowing snowstorm.
  • For heat, turn on the car engine for brief periods. To avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, always leave a downwind window open slightly. Also, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow when the engine is running.
  • Exercise from time to time by clapping your hand and moving your arms and legs. Do not stay in one position too long, but do not overexert yourself by shoveling or trying to push the car.
  • Leave the dome light on at night as a signal to rescuers. If more than one person is in the car, sleep in shifts.

5. Other tips to keep in mind:

  • Don't drive while tired.
  • Always use your seatbelt and make sure everyone else does.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area.
  • All vehicle windows and mirrors should be clear before attempting to drive.