The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Road Safety Tips

Winter weather survival includes being prepared for automobile accidents and weather-induced delays. Accidents can be multi-vehicle but frequently sliding off into a ravine due to road conditions is the most dangerous. Being prepared for winter conditions can make the difference between life and death if you find yourself in this predicament.

Important things to remember:

It starts with the basics; give your car a thorough pre-season check every fall. If you don’t know how or don’t have the time, have an automotive professional do it for you. Check fluid levels, wiper blade condition, belt condition, headlight and taillights, and similar items. Keep the fuel tank full and the cell-phone charged.

When traveling in harsh winter weather be sure someone knows when to expect you at your destination, and what route you will be taking. If conditions become dangerous and appear to be getting worse, STOP. If it is sensible to return the way you came, do so.

If stranded and you must use your car engine to heat the vehicle, always check to make sure the exhaust tailpipe is clear. A blocked tail pipe can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and death. Be sure to open a window when you are running the engine, and try not to run the engine over 10 minutes in every hour. Use foil or space blankets and duct tape to cover windows and reflect your heat back to you.

Use a bright cloth, rags or tape to mark the car’s antenna and any signs or posts nearby. A vehicle in the snow quickly becomes invisible unless you make an effort to be seen.

DO NOT leave your vehicle unless you can SEE a building or home to evacuate to, or it is unsafe to remain in your vehicle. If you leave your vehicle to go cross-country or down the road, leave a note in the vehicle so rescuers know which way to proceed.

Know the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite. Be sure to wear a wool cap or other insulating hat to prevent heat loss. Be particularly careful with children, who aren’t as aware of the danger they may be in or their body symptoms.