We live in an area that normally has pretty tough winters. In fact, there are dozens of YouTube vids that show a particularly bad section of town where the roads are so steep, no one drives them, they just slide down, and every year folks record the South Hill “follies” as car after car slips and slides through those neighborhoods. We live outside of town on the side of a mountain and it’s not unheard of to get several feet of snow where we are. Several years ago we lived at the TOP of a mountain on 20 acres and we were above the treeline- 5 to 7 feet of snow was no big deal! Around here people have their regular cars, and they have their winter rigs. Winter driving is absolutely NOT my favorite thing. I get so angry when we are going somewhere in the winter, the roads are slick and visibility is bad and some yahoo is flying past in a hurry to get in wreck at 65MPH.
It’s common sense, but here are a few ways to stay safe on the road during the winter.
1. Check your tires. Make sure your tires are ready for the snow. According to the NTSB, tire blowouts contribute to about 7% of vehicle accidents in the United States. If you live in a snowy climate like we do, snow tires are a must.
2. Keep an emergency kit in your car. Pack a bag with water, energy bars, blankets, socks, flashlight, flares and mittens. You never know when you might get stuck because of the road conditions, and you will want to be warm while you wait for help.
3. Keep the gas tank at least 3/4 full. You could experience engine troubles when it’s really cold and your tank is close to E- because condensation can build up.
4. Keep PLENTY of room between you and other cars. Your ability to stop if the car in front of you runs in to trouble is greatly reduced on slick roads so make sure you have room to safely navigate away from them if necessary
5. Keep your cell charged. Don’t have one? Pick up a cheap pay as you go cell and keep it for emergencies only.
6. Stay off the roads if you can. Bad storm? Don’t go shopping just because you have a coupon for a free lunch-meat that expires in 24 hours. Stay home.
7. Keep distractions to a minimum! Take books or toys for your little ones and tell your teens to pipe down- you need to concentrate.
My favorite tip is to just stay home! Although I plan on retiring on a tropical beach somewhere after I hit the lottery jackpot, for the time being we are stuck in a place where winter really makes itself known. Making sure we do what we should each year to stay safe and sound out there is a given. What do you do to get ready for winter roads?
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