Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Weather Travel Precautions by ACM Intern Jordon Nesmith


During this time of year, as people continue to travel and crowd the streets to engage in seasonal festivities, it becomes increasingly important to remain mindful of actions and precautions that can be taken in order to maintain safety in winter weather conditions. These safety tips apply not only to driving precautions, but also around the home.

When preparing to leave home, allow yourself extra time to get to desired locations as to avoid rushing. If you will be warming your car, a recommended practice to help the engine run better, be certain not to do so in an enclosed area, and be certain to clear all snow and ice from the vehicle for maximum visibility.

It is also recommended to always leave the car with at least a half full tank of gas to reduce the possibility of gas line freezes. Tires should always be properly inflated and either radial tires or an alternate type, but never a mix of multiple. The use of parking breaks should be avoided in cold, rainy, or snowy weather, and a seat belt should always be worn while operating a vehicle.

The use of the “cruise control” features within vehicles is not recommended in wet or slick driving conditions, and additional attention should be paid to potentially hazardous, upcoming road conditions, such as black ice on bridges. If skidding occurs, acceleration should decrease, and efforts should be taken to maintain control of the vehicle, steering in the desired direction.

Vehicle operators should remain particularly reserved while driving, leaving additional space between themselves and other vehicles, reducing usual speeds to compensate for weather conditions, and separating emotions from driving.

It is important to be prepared for probable setbacks. In the car, having booster cables, a spare tire, a flashlight, an ice scrapper, tools and other supplies are important to assist in a crisis. At home, important supplies may include, but are not limited to bottled water, a radio, a cellular phone, a flashlight with additional batteries, food and other emergency preparedness equipment.

The winter is a wonderful season for celebration and festivities, but it is paramount to take precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you. For additional safety tips, refer to Red Cross and AAA resources.