In this part, let’s talk about making long trips, skidding, and actions to take when you’re stranded.

Preparation For Long Trips – Long distance trips by car or truck can be dangerous during the winter, so here are some suggestions for minimizing the chance of the trip becoming a tragedy:

  • find out about expected weather conditions at locations along your route
  • tune into local stations or use mobile phone weather/traffic apps for information on road conditions
  • give persons on either end of your trip a travel itinerary including planned departure and arrival times and call these persons to let them know of your safe arrival
  • stop frequently for resting and re-fueling
  • travel as much as possible in daylight
  • be familiar with your route, carry recent maps and prepare alternate routes
  • be prepared for travel delays and be willing to pull over on the road or to stop at road shelters to wait out poor driving conditions

What To Do If You’re Stranded

  • pull your car over as far off the road as possible to avoid being hit
  • put on any additional clothing to keep warn
  • use phone or radio to call for help
  • it is better to stay with the car and run the engine periodically, not continuously
  • conserve your energy; over-exertion by trying to move your vehicle or shoveling too long endangers your health
  • melt snow for drinking water
  • move your arms and legs to improve your circulation and to keep warmer
  • before leaving your vehicle, consider the outside temperature. A person can freeze very quickly, especially if there is much wind
  • If you are stranded in an area where there is regular traffic, put on your flashers or raise your car’s hood to attract help

What to do if you start to skid – Above all, try not to panic. Abrupt or wild steering or braking will make things more dangerous. Skids occur when the car’s speed overcomes tire traction. If you do not have anti-lock brakes, gently pump your brakes until the car slows and traction (ability to steer) is regained. If you DO have anti-lock brakes, apply steady pressure until control is regained. If you are able, try to steer your car in the same direction in which you’re skidding. In other words, if you’re skidding to the right, turn your STEERING WHEEL (not your tires) to the right. This action should counteract the skidding.

Winter often does provide a beautiful backdrop in which to drive, but it helps if you’re patient, cautious, realistic and prepared. Be sure to read Winter Driving – Parts 1 and 3.

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2014

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