Red Cross winter driving tips |

Red Cross winter driving tips

Daily Staff Writer

How to prepare your vehicleWinterize your car by taking it to a trusted mechanic to check the tires for appropriate pressure and tread, the cooling system, the battery, the wiper blades and washer fluid, etc. During the winter months, make sure to keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Before hitting the road, make sure you and all passengers have a warm coat, hat, gloves or mittens and water resistant boots.Planning ahead for driving when conditions are not optimal can alleviate stress and help travelers in colder climates avoid panic if something goes awry.Equip your vehicle with a “disaster kit”: Battery-powered radio with extra batteries, blanket and/or sleeping bags, first aid kit and manual, flashlight with extra batteries, fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type), battery booster cables and flares, tire repair kit and pump, compass, road map and knife, heavy bag of sand or cat litter (for tire traction) and tow rope, bottled water and non-perishable, high-energy foods such as peanut butter and granola bars, extra clothing to keep dry, an windshield scraper and brush.What to do if you’re stuckShould you find yourself stranded or stuck in your car (especially during winter months), stay calm. Take the following actions until help arrives:Stay with your car! Do not try to walk to safety as you can become quickly disoriented in bitter wind and cold and run the risk of developing hypothermia and/or frostbite. Tie a brightly colored cloth, preferably red, to your antenna so rescuers can see you easily. Run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow or debris. Leave the overhead light on inside the car when the engine is running so you can be seen. While sitting, move arms and legs continuously to keep your blood circulating and to stay warm. Keep one window away from the blowing air open to let in fresh air and reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. After the snow has stopped falling, raise the hood to indicate you need help.After the storms subside, continue listening to your local stations or NOAA radio for updated information or instructions. Since severe storms are usually followed by even colder temperatures, be careful and dress warmly when venturing outside. Watch for future storm conditions and stay alert. Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of deaths during winter.More information can be found at

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