In many parts of the world, with winter will come snow. As we are currently seeing across the United States snowstorms can cause flight delays, severe road hazards and large spread power outages. The last week of November this year over 1,400 flights were canceled due to severe snow storms hitting the midwestern states. Road conditions were treacherous as many freeways and highways were closed down due to accidents and low visibility. Be sure to be safe and prepared in all winter conditions. It is important not only for you but the others around you. Cannon wants to help, so we’ve put together some snow safety tips.
Safety Tips for Driving in the Snow
Some things need to be done before the first snowfall. You need good tires and the windshield fluid levels should be full. Check to be sure the heater and defroster work and be sure you have enough fuel in the tank to get where you’re going with extra to spare. If you have a truck you might want to consider getting a couple sandbags for weight in the back to help your rear tires get better traction.
When driving, stay calm. Drive as slow as you need to keep from sliding or skidding. Be gentle on your brakes and don’t make quick, sharp turns. Four-wheel or all-wheel drive is the best option for driving in snow and avoid tracking another vehicle, especially at places you need to stop or on uphill slopes. Avoiding the urge to go faster than the conditions allow is the safest option.
If You Get Stuck
Don’t panic. While staying safe, gently attempt to rock back and forth to get moving again. You may have to travel backward a distance to be able to reach a place where you can once again move forward. Turn your steering wheel back and forth a few times before attempting to move forward in order to help move the snow away from your front tires. Once you start moving, slowly and safely continue to move. Avoid spinning your tires, especially with front-wheel drive; if your front wheels are spinning, you can lose steering control. If you can’t get unstuck, consider your location and either stay with the vehicle until help arrives or have everyone leave the vehicle and move to a safe location out of traffic or danger’s way.
What to Keep in Your Vehicle as a Winter Safety Kit
Having an extra set of warm clothes for everyone in the vehicle is imperative. These should include coats, gloves, hats, boots and if possible, snowsuits for the kids. At the least, having a few heavy plastic bags to slip over your sneakers or toeless/dress shoes. The plastic bags can be held up with rubber bands or tape and will help keep your feet dry if you have to get out in the snow. You can also keep a couple of blankets in your vehicle
Consider keeping smaller bottles rather than a large container of water in your vehicle, as they are easier to carry and can be kept inside your clothing to prevent from freezing. Think about high-energy food such as several types of specialty bars; also trail mix, chocolate, or dry fruits. Storing two to three days’ worth of these supplies is recommended. Nowadays most people have cell phones and keeping a charger in your vehicle is a habit. You want to be sure you able to call for assistance at any time, especially if you get stuck in the boonies.
Pack a shovel to use for snow removal. You can find shovels that have collapsing handles and are small enough to keep in the vehicle. This can be very handy when digging yourself out of a snow bank. A couple of quart freezer bags of cat litter can help you gain traction if your wheels are stuck. Having a couple candles can even go a long way towards heating the interior of a vehicle enough to prevent you from freezing, just be sure to crack a window. Be sure to have a flashlight or two and some extra batteries. A bright cloth or piece of clothing can be tied to the antenna or a stick as a signal that you need help.
Finally, you may want to keep a first-aid kit in the vehicle (year-round) and ensure it has anything specific that you or a family member might need in an emergency, such as epinephrine or other essential medicines.
Always avoid traveling in a blizzard; but if you find yourself in this situation, you can now take the necessary steps to be prepared.
Other related links from Cannon: Home Electrical System Safety