Snow days, sledding and building snowmen are a few of the joys that come with winter weather. Driving in wintry weather is another story. Snow and ice create hazardous road conditions which lead to increased vehicle accidents. Car accidents are responsible for more than 1,000 power outages each year on average, affecting approximately 190,000 customers across our service territory. As we continue into the winter months, now’s the time to brush up on your winter driving skills. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe this winter with these tips:

The Basics

Prepare your vehicle.

    • Keep your fuel tank as full as possible.
    • Check tire tread and pressure. Add air as needed to meet the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.
    • Make sure all lights on your vehicle are working properly.
    • Replace worn windshield wipers and fill your windshield wiper fluid reservoir with de-icing formula.

Plan ahead.

    • Clear all snow and ice from your vehicle before driving, including around headlights and tail lights.
    • Allow additional travel time to reach your destination.
    • Prepare an emergency kit for your vehicle including: a cell phone and charger, jumper cables, flashlight, blankets, water, food, and any necessary medicine.

Slow down.

    • Snow: Reduce your speed to half of the posted speed limit if you’re traveling snow-packed roads.
    • Ice: Slick, icy roads require extreme caution. If you can no longer safely control your vehicle, carefully pull off the road until conditions improve.
    • Rain: Decrease your speed by one-third of the posted speed limit when driving on wet pavement.

Increase your following distance.

    • Slick road surfaces require additional space to stop your vehicle. Allow at least twice the normal distance from other vehicles when traveling snow covered roads.
    • Use caution and give extra space to snow plows and salt trucks. These vehicles have limited visibility, travel slower than posted speed limits, and can throw snow clouds when passing that can impair your visibility.

Emergency Action Plan

If you are stopped or stalled while traveling wintry roads, keep these tips in mind to stay safe:
  1. Stay in your vehicle – Getting out of your vehicle increases the risk of being struck by another driver.
  2. Make sure your vehicle is visible – Use lights, emergency flashers, flares or flags to make sure other drivers are able to see you.
  3. Keep your exhaust pipe clear – If snow or debris blocks your exhaust, carbon monoxide can enter your car. Do not run your vehicle for an extended time, only long enough to stay warm.

2 responses to “Be Prepared – Winter Driving Ahead

  1. Have some extra pairs of heavier insulated gloves or mittens, some hand warmers and some extra heavy clothing like insulated bibs, snowsuit, heavy wool or insulated socks and snow/insulated boots. Insulated socking cap. I also have a heavy duty snow brush that I can change the brush around plus I can extend it. Plus a good ice scraper.

    Remember be respectful to other drivers if you want to be respected. Don’t be in a big hurry.

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