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Your Winter Vehicle Safety Kit – a must for WI Drivers

Keeping your car well-maintained will limit your exposure to cold weather trouble, but it won’t hurt to have a safety kit in your car or truck.

Car Survival Kit

            Everyone should carry a Winter Survival Kit in their car. In an emergency, it could save your life and the lives of your passengers.Here is what you need:

  • a shovel
  • windshield scraper and small broom
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • battery powered radio
  • water
  • snack food including energy bars
  • raisins and mini candy bars
  • matches and small candles
  • extra hats, socks and mittens
  • First aid kit with pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • blankets or sleeping bag
  • tow chain or rope
  • road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction
  • booster cables
  • emergency flares and reflectors
  • fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention
  • Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter

        Kit tips:

  • Reverse batteries in flashlight to avoid accidental switching and burnout.
  • Store items in the passenger compartment in case the trunk is jammed or frozen shut.
  • Choose small packages of food that you can eat hot or cold.

 

        911 tips:

  • If possible, call 911 on your cell phone. Provide your location, condition of everyone in the vehicle and the problem you’re experiencing.
  • Follow instructions: you may be told to stay where you are until help arrives.
  • Do not hang up until you know who you have spoken with and what will happen next.
  • If you must leave the vehicle, write down your name, address, phone number and destination. Place the piece of paper inside the front windshield for someone to see.

        Survival tips:

  • Prepare your vehicle: Make sure you keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Be easy to find: Tell someone where you are going and the route you will take.
  • If stuck: Tie a florescent flag (from your kit) on your antenna or hang it out the window. At night, keep your dome light on. Rescue crews can see a small glow at a distance. To reduce battery drain, use emergency flashers only if you hear approaching vehicles. If you’re with someone else, make sure at least one person is awake and keeping watch for help at all times.
  • Stay in your vehicle: Walking in a storm can be very dangerous. You might become lost or exhausted. Your vehicle is a good shelter.
  • Avoid Overexertion: Shoveling snow or pushing your car takes a lot of effort in storm conditions. Don’t risk a heart attack or injury. That work can also make you hot and sweaty. Wet clothing loses insulation value, making you susceptible to hypothermia.
  • Fresh Air: It’s better to be cold and awake than comfortably warm and sleepy. Snow can plug your vehicle’s exhaust system and cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter your car. Only run the engine for 10 minutes an hour and make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow. Keeping a window open a crack while running the engine is also a good idea.
  • Don’t expect to be comfortable: You want to survive until you’re found.

 

This is an excerpt from http://readywisconsin.wi.gov/winter/HowToMakeAKit.asp

Winter Safe Driving Tips

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has some recommendations for safe winter driving.  These seem like they might fall under common sense, but it doesn’t hurt to keep them in the front of your mind when the snow falls.

Winter Driving Guide

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights.
  • Pay attention.
  • Leave plenty of room for stopping.
  • Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows.
  • Know the current road conditions. View winter road conditions..
  • Watch for slippery bridge decks.
  • Don’t use your cruise control in wintry conditions.
  • Don’t get overconfident in your 4×4 vehicle.
  • Do not pump anti-lock brakes.
  • Look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do.
  • Remember that trucks are heavier than cars.
  • Go slow!

 

 

 

source: http://www.zeroinwisconsin.gov/safewinterdriving/

 

 

Preparing Your Car for Winter

 Don’t be left by the roadside.

These areas of your car or truck should be checked in preparation for winter driving, per the Wisconsin Department of Transportation:

  • Ignition system
  • Fuel system
  • Belts
  • Fluid levels
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust system
  • Wiper blades and windshield washer fluid
  • Snow tires
  • Tire tread and pressure
  • Defroster
  • Proper grade oil
  • Cooling system
  • Battery
  • Lights
  • Antifreeze

In our next post, we’ll have some safe driving tips.

 

 

source:  http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safety/education/winter-drv/vehicle.aspx