Winter Weather Vehicle Safety

by Gwen Newell

As winter storms continue to move across the country and a huge storm recently hitting the eastern U.S. this past weekend, this likely won’t be the last time the Carolinas sees snow or wintery mixes this season. AAA encourages motorists to always be prepared and exercise caution as severe weather can be both frightening and dangerous for commuters.

The threat of snow and wintery mixes should always be a reminder for everyone to practice safety and be diligent behind the wheel. Rain, snow and sleet are all elements that can reduce your visibility and make it difficult to safely maneuver or even bring your vehicle to a complete stop if necessary.

A winter weather advisory for snow means that periods of snow will cause travel difficulties. It’s important to be prepared for slick roads, limited visibility, and use caution while driving. Also, make sure your car is winterized and when faced with snowy or icy conditions, AAA recommends the following safety tips below:

If your car gets stuck during a storm, stay in the vehicle! If you leave your vehicle, you will quickly become disoriented in wind-driven snow and cold. Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat but be sure to open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, clear snow from the exhaust pipe to avoid gas poisoning. Lastly, be visible to rescuers! Turn on the dome light at night when running the engine and tie a bright colored cloth, preferably red, to your antenna or door. When the snow stops falling, raise the hood to indicate that you need help.

It is also extremely helpful to keep a winter weather kit inside your vehicle. AAA suggests you include these items in your kit such as abrasive material (sand, salt, kitty litter) or traction mats, a small shovel, a flashlight with extra batteries, window washer solvent, paper towels or old towels, jumper cables, warm clothes (hat, gloves, boots, blankets), drinking water, snacks, basic tool kit, first aid kit, cell phone with extra charger or battery, any needed medications, ice scraper and emergency contact numbers.

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