In a perfect world winter travel would be effortless – gorgeous weather, pile the family and luggage in the car, head out, and several hours later arrive at your destination. In reality, winter travel often means ice, snow, and hazardous roads. As you prepare to travel over the river and through the woods to visit with friends and family this holiday season, be sure to organize and equip your vehicle for emergency situations should the vehicle become stuck or disabled.
Before You Head Out
1. Tell someone you trust (a friend, relative or co-worker) you are taking a trip, where you are going, the routes you will travel and when you expect to arrive.
2. Be sure to completely charge your cell phone before leaving.
3. Check your vehicle’s antifreeze level, as well as check and replace an older battery.
4. Before you leave town, fill your gas tank. While traveling, frequently refill the gas tank. And, before leaving the gas station, check tires and spare for proper inflation.
5. Don’t get on the road without a winter travel survival kit. In addition, you’ll want to have emergency food and clothing handy for each traveler, including some hard candy, extra socks, some baggies or boots to keep your feet dry in case you need to trudge through snow, a container to melt snow in, and lip balm.
6. You’ll also want to assemble a kit equipped with a durable container of kitty litter or road salt, jumper cables, flares, matches, flashlight, and a portable radio.
7. Secure luggage and other items in your vehicle. Should you become involved in an accident, these items become projectiles and you or family members can be seriously injured.
8. If you’re taking the family pet with you, be sure to dress your pet with a collar and ID tag. For safety reasons, pets should also be in a crate or restrained while in the car.
On the Road
9. If your vehicle breaks down, pull as far off the road as possible. Your greatest personal danger at this point is being hit by passing cars.
10. Stay in the car if visibility is poor. You may become disoriented and lost while wandering in a snowstorm, making it more difficult for rescuers to find you. If possible, use your cell phone to call for help.