http://car.mannyy.com/ Winter Holiday – Safe Driving Tips WINTER WHEELS1, 2, 3 Driving during winter weather can be slow, frustrating, and dangerous. From 1986 to 2004, over 1,000 deaths in the United States were attributed to winter weather. About 70 percent of injuries due to snow and ice result from vehicle accidents. If road travel is necessary during winter weather, follow these tips to prepare your car: Be prepared: Be sure that you have your vehicle tuned-up for winter. Take care to get windshield wipers, fluid levels, battery, headlights, and brakes checked. Also, carry a safety kit and extra supplies in your car to keep you warm and safe should you become stranded. Is It Necessary? Listen to your radio, TV, or NOAA Weather Radio for current weather conditions and emergency information. If road conditions are dangerous, is your road trip necessary? If it is not imperative that you drive, wait at home until driving conditions improve. Clear the Car: Before you drive, clear ALL ice and snow off of your car, including the windows and front and rear headlights. Clear any loose snow from your hood and roof to prevent it blowing onto your windshield or onto another car while you are driving. Warming Myth: Letting a cold engine sit idle could cause it harm and waste gas. The best way to warm a cold engine is to drive the vehicle at the speed limit. Let Someone Know When You Go: Let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be there. SAFE STEERING4, 5 When on the road during any winter weather, exercise caution. Here are helpful hints to practice: Leave Your Lights On: Keep your headlights on, even during the day. Speed and Distance: Travel at or below the speed limit and give yourself extra following space between other vehicles. Allow yourself at least eight to ten seconds of stopping time – even longer if driving on ice. Increase your stopping time even if you are driving a four-wheel drive vehicle. In order to have the most control possible of your vehicle when driving over ice or snow, do not use the cruise control feature. Take your time and be alert for what other drivers are doing; give extra distance and attention to snow plows, since their drivers may not see you. On Thin Ice: If you must brake quickly over snow or ice, press and hold the brake firmly if you have anti-lock brakes (ABS). If you do not have ABS, gradually pump the brake, increasing in firmness as your vehicle slows. Steer Clear: If you find your rear wheels skidding on ice, turn in the direction you want your front wheels to go (if the rear is skidding right, turn the wheel right). You NOAA may have to do this a few times in either direction for the wheels to set straight. Then, apply the brake. If your front wheels skid, release the gas pedal and put the car in neutral. As the vehicle slows, gradually steer in the direction you want to go. These are the best practices in either a front or rear-wheel drive vehicle. Invisible Ice: At temperatures of freezing or below, there may be patches of “black ice” – clear ice on the roads that are nearly invisible from the driver’s view. Use cautions on bridges, overpasses, and intersections where icing is common. A Program of the National Environmental Education Foundation 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 160 Washington, DC 20008 www.earthgauge.net www.neefusa.org http://car.mannyy.com/ Sources: 1 Colorado Division of Emergency Management. Winter Preparedness Safety Tips. http://www.dola.state.co.us/dem/public_information/winter.htm. 2 National Weather Service, December, 2001. “Winter Storms: The Deceptive Killers.” http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/brochures/winterstorm.pdf. 3 National Safety Council, 2004. Winter, Your Car, and You. http://www.nsc.org/library/facts/winter.htm. 4 New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Online Driver’s Manual. “Chapter 10: Special Driving Conditions.” http://www.nysdmv.com/dmanual/chapter10-manual.htm#win-drv. 5 Washington State Department of Transportation, 2007. Winter Travel: Ice and Snow, Take It Slow. http://www.nysdmv.com/dmanual/chapter10- manual.htm#win-drv.