TIPS FOR WINTER DRIVING
We all know it is best simply not to drive at all during the deadly combination of precipitation and freezing cold temperatures. But sometimes, there is little choice. Medical emergencies still occur. Babies still need to be born. Schools sometimes dismiss in the middle of the day. Or, perish the thought, you might be out of that winter-time-necessity: milk and bread.
Here are a few tips that might make your next winter excursion a bit better, and maybe even safer:
Try to park under a garage or carport in winter. This allows your windshield, side and rear glass to all to be ice-free, allowing you to see well. If you do not have a covered area, you can try this: Turn off your car with your wipers pointed up. Then tuck a large trash bag or pizza boxes underneath your wipers. When you need to leave, the glass underneath should be clear. This allows you to see well without as much scraping.
Speaking of scraping, a can of spray-on de-icer is often handy. Anything with alcohol with melt ice. Warm up your car with the defrost set on high. Do not forget the rear defrost, if so equipped. If you must scrape, wear gloves. In an emergency, a credit card will clear the glass. Clear your headlights of snow, too.
If you must drive in the snow, there is usually one lane that is clearer. Stay in it. Many winter accidents occur with a lane change. Leave twice the distance you think you need to stop. Do not follow closely. There is no reason to do so. And keep your speed down. Slippery ice and snow is not the surface you wish to lose control on.
Also, consider pre-packing a winter automotive emergency bag might contain: A first-aid kit, duct tape, jumper cables, de-icer, an ice scraper, gloves, blankets, a spare coat, hat, kitty litter (for traction if stuck), flashlight and batteries, pen and paper, knife, spare charger for your cell phone, a way to make a fire or flares, bottled water and snacks. If you are more adventurous, extra gas, a shovel and a chainsaw are very handy.
If you wreck or get stuck, you have to make the decision whether to stay with your car or to walk. If you are on a well-traveled road, just stay in the car and use the heater occasionally. If you are backed up with your tailpipe in the snow, you must dig it out or you risk death by carbon monoxide poisoning! If you do choose to walk, leave a note with your phone number, plans, time you left and direction of travel.
Be careful out there.