Winter Driving Tips

BEFORE WINTER ARRIVES
• Get a complete tune-up in the fall. Check your tire pressure at least once a month.
• Have your exhaust system carefully checked for leaks that could send carbon monoxide into your vehicle.
• Check your radiator and hoses for cracks and leaks. Check anti-freeze and heater.
• Make sure wipers are in good condition, and fill up on winter washer fluid.
• Pay attention to tires
• Worn and damaged tires hamper your ability to drive safely
• Have tires checked or replaced before winter
• Check tire pressure frequently throughout winter

PREPARE A WINTER DRIVING SURVIVAL KIT
• Ice scraper/snow brush
• Shovel
• Sand or other traction aid
• Tow rope or chain
• Booster cables
• Road flares or warning lights
• Gas line antifreeze
• Extra windshield washer fluid
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Fire extinguisher
• Small tool kit
• Extra clothing, hat, scarf, footwear and blankets
• Non-perishable energy food (granola bars, dried fruit, chocolate, crackers)
• Bottled Water
• Candle and Can or chemical hard warmers
• Matches in waterproof container or cigarette lighter
• Toilet Paper, towelettes
• Cell phone with power cord
• Knife or multipurpose tool

BEFORE HEADING OUT
• Make sure you have enough fuel. Keep at least half a tank.
• Plan your route
• Wear comfortable clothing
• Clear snow and ice from car
• Check your vehicle
• Carry a cell phone

WINTER DRIVING STRATEGIES
• Make sure everyone in a motor vehicle wears a seat belt and children are in a car safety seat.
• When traveling outside of a business or residential district, it is unlawful to follow a highway maintenance vehicle (snowplow, truck or grader) more closely than 100 feet when it is plowing snow, spreading salt or sand, or displaying a flashing amber or blue light. If conditions permit, however, drivers may pass a maintenance vehicle.
• Slow Down! Drive according to road and weather conditions
• Slow down at the first sign of rain, sleet or snow
• Remember, posted speeds are for dry pavement
• Clear Snow and Ice: Clear all windows and lights, even the hood and the roof, before driving
• Know Current Road Conditions: Check http://www.511nebraska.org or call 800-906-9069 before heading out to see the current road conditions.
Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows.
• Stay at least 15 car lengths (200 feet) back
• Don’t pass on right
• Don’t use your cruise control or overdrive when it is freezing (or colder).
• Plowing snow on a multi-lane roadway is often done in tandem (more than one snowplow at a time). Give them plenty of room. Do not pass on the right side and always stay where the operator can see you.
Watch for icy surfaces on bridges
• Even when the rest of the road seems to be in good condition, bridge decks will ice up
first.
Look farther ahead in traffic.
• Actions by other drivers will alert you to problems and give you extra seconds to react.
Trucks take longer to stop.
• So, don’t cut in front of them!
Don’t get overconfident with four-wheel drive.
• Four-wheel drive helps you get going more quickly, but it won’t help you stop faster.
Don’t pump anti-lock brakes.
• This can cause your car to skid.
• The correct way is “stomp and steer.”
Adjust to road conditions.
• The faster you go, the longer it will take to turn, slow down and stop.
Allow extra time to reach your destination when the roads may be slick.
• Consider delaying your trip.
Drive with your headlights on
• This will allow other drivers to see you.
• Snowplows cause soft snow to swirl. It can become difficult to see theplow and for the plow operator to see you. Turn on your headlights and windshield wipers for additional visibility.

IF YOU GET TRAPPED IN YOUR CAR DURING A WINTER STORM
• Avoid overexertion and exposure. Shoveling and bitter cold can kill.
• Stay in your car. You won’t get lost and you’ll have shelter.
• Keep fresh air in your car. Crack open a window on the side sheltered from the wind.
• Run your engine sparingly. Beware of exhaust fumes and the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Ensure the tailpipe is not blocked by snow.
• Set out a warning light or flares.
• Exercise your limbs – keep moving and don’t fall asleep.

This and more information can be found at Nebraska Department of roads website at http://www.nebraskatransportation.org and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Web site at www.noaa.gov


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