Be Prepared! 7 Simple Tips to Stay Safe This Winter
Winters, with their festive rituals, are always unpredictable: we know it’s the time to get together with family and friends, but we are never sure under which conditions. The freakish weather comes with snow, blizzards, and storms that may appear out of nowhere and catch you unprepared, so instead of spending precious time with your loved ones, you could end up in a less than merry Christmas or New Year’s scenario.
Every cold season we turn on the news and see people caught up in terrible winter disasters and secretly wish “we never get to experience such severe circumstances”. That is why, unpredictability aside, we must always be cautious and prepared when winter comes, even if we think we live away from the affected areas.
These are the seven most important steps to ensure you are never caught off-guard this year:
Check the Weather Reports
If you are not near a TV, you can certainly be informed with any respectable online forecast that can predict how the weather is going to be while you are traveling or just driving and running the last errands. Especially during this time of year, don’t go out without knowing whether it’s going to snow or rain or drizzle -- the weather can not only totally ruin your plans to get everything done, but it can even impact your ability to reach your destination safe and sound.
Yes, we know you’re in a hurry, and so is everybody else. That is why during winter’s slippery conditions (ice, snow, heavy rain) and reduced visibility (heavy winds, storms, blizzards) the traffic is both terrible and dangerous, even on less crowded roads. Car collisions due to the unsafe road conditions are a common occurrence this time of year, so drive more patiently than ever if you want to get to where you planned, a bit later, rather than never getting there at all.
Get Traction Control
Making sure your vehicle is ready for winter’s harsh conditions is vital, and this means you should be able to rely on it to take you where you need to be. If your car stops or slows down on an icy or wet surface, you will not be able to accelerate and drive without traction control, which most cars have nowadays; you should nevertheless double-check that it’s there and properly working.
Avoid Carbon Monoxide
We all hate getting into a freezing car and want to wait until the engine heat makes the inside temperature bearable. But turning on the engine while the car is in a small garage is definitely intoxicating if not poisonous, so don’t be tempted to do it. Also, be aware of running engines while stranded on the road, because if your exhaust pipe is stuck with dirt and snow and all windows are closed, you can become a carbon monoxide victim.
Get Your Car Checked
There are things you can do yourself while driving (like deciding to go easy on the acceleration pedal), while others are better left in expert hands. Whether you’re a man or a woman, or you know a lot about cars or next to nothing, a routine winter check in any service or repair shop is the best thing you should plan, before the holidays. Here is a list for you to take into consideration:
Brakes and brake fluid
Tires and proper tire inflation
Electrical system and alternator belt
Cooling system and antifreeze options
Lights, defrosters, and wipers
Leave with a Full Tank
When you go on a winter road trip, you never know how long it’s going to take you to reach your destination. You may be lucky enough to drive in dry weather, but don’t underestimate the drastic changes that can come unannounced. It’s better to have enough gas in your car, should you be obliged to stop and wait, than to worry that you are going to freeze in the middle of the road.
Emergency situations like being stuck in your car until somebody comes and rescues you, require you to travel with a list of things that are of great help in such situations:
A shovel to dig the snow with
Jumper cables to start up the battery and engine
Reflective triangle to signal that your car is stopped
Flashlights for any dark situation
Blankets, mittens, hats and socks
High-energy foods like canned nuts and seeds, dried fruit or protein bars
As holidays approach, people are excitedly planning and preparing numerous things before the actual celebrations. We recommend you that you create an extensive list of safety measures and go through them one by one to ensure that you will stay safe this winter.