Now that we have left our dorm rooms for the winter, it’s time to get back into the driver’s seats of our cars and resume normal life. Although we dream of a white Christmas, delayed openings and snow days, there are precautions drivers should take when venturing out into the snow.
Although you may feel that you absolutely need to go out and get something, do not leave the house unless it is necessary. If there is severe weather, stay inside and stay clear of driving. Listen to the weather report and go out before the snow starts coming down and get what you need.
However, if you must drive, make sure you are prepared. The Weather Channel website suggests that you keep non-perishable food, water, jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight, first aid kit and a cell phone charger in your car in case you get stranded.
Drive slowly and leave room between you and the car in front of you. Also, brake gently to avoid skidding.
When driving on highways, avoid the side lines. Even though the road might be plowed, these areas tend to have slush, which can cause your car to skid, or snow piled high, which blows into the lane or unexpectedly cut off the lane – forcing you to merge into the middle lane and cause an accident.
The Weather Channel website also advises not to leave your car when you are stranded, unless you see a building you can walk to and will be able to stay in. Also, make sure your exhaust pipe is not blocked and run the engine and heater for 10 minutes every hour. Keep a window cracked so the snow and ice do not seal the car shut.
Remember, accidents can happen at any time and the risk increases with snow and ice on the ground. Do not think you are an exception against severe weather conditions and can drive.
Patrice Kubik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.