Over the Hills and Through the Woods; Winter Driving

If you are like our family then this story will sound familiar to you. You are off to your parents’ house for the holidays. You finally got everything packed and everyone is in the car. The house is locked up and you think you are finally on your way, but what about the unknown dangers you find on the road. We all know them but sometimes we forget or think we can avoid them.

Before you left for your holiday travels you;

Winterized your car by checking the batteries, ignition system, lights, brakes and tires.

Put the winter safety kit in your car which includes;

  • ShovelOver the Hills and Through the Woods; Winter Driving 1
  • Tow chain
  • Warm cloths
  • Road flares
  • Emergency food
  • Matches, candle
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Blanket

Checked weather conditions

Fully charge cell phone

Make plans for your departure, travel rout, and arrival time with family or friends, so they know when to alert authority’s if you do not make it to your destination.

On the road finally!

You are making great progress you notice the road is wet in shady places, or is that ice? A good way to judge is to check how cold it is outside. Black ice is most commonly found at temperatures between +4 degrees C and -4 degrees C, where the road surface ahead looks black and shiny. After checking the weather outside and feeling the car slip a little on the first turn out of the neighborhood, you slow down on turns and give yourself more room between you and the car ahead.

You are now making your way onto the Highway. As your speed increases with the moving traffic you are not as worried about black ice in the shade, but are aware of the dangers of Icy Bridges and overpasses. Bridges and overpasses become icier quickly in cold weather. They do not retain heat and are exposed to wind, and cold on top of the road as well as underside causing a cooling effect. Because you a smart driver as you approach a long bridge you slow down and drive conservatively.

An hour into the drive it begins to snow. Now it is getting harder to see and truckers are putting on their chains. You are now no longer using cruise control and begin to drive at a speed that is safe for the weather and road conditions. If weather conditions get too bad to drive pull into a gas station or local diner until the storm lets up. If you cannot find a good location stop pull over on the side of the road. Make sure to get as far off the road as possible and only run the car 10 minutes each hour to keep warm and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. You decide to take a hot coco brake and by the time all the marshmallows are gone the snow has let up and you continue on your journey.

As you pull into your parents’ house everyone in the car lets out a sigh of relief. You have navigated the perils of winter driving now you just have to work out who gets to eat the first piece of pie.

Sources: Your Preparation Guide for Winter Driving, getinsurancequotes.ca, November 16, 2012.

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