With snowstorms, frigid temperatures and icy roads impacting more than 100 million people across multiple states this week, residents could face challenging driving conditions. The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes offers the following seven winter car safety tips to keep families safe while driving in winter conditions:
1. Prepare a special emergency kit for your car and keep it there throughout the season. Your winter weather car-kit should include:
A distress flag
Extra food and water
Flashlights and batteries
2. Check your tires for air and wear. Be sure to keep tow and tire chains in your trunk as well.
3. If visibility is impaired, pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and hang a distress flag from the radio antenna or window.
4. Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. Be careful; distances are distorted by blowing snow. A building may seem close but be too far to walk to in deep snow.
5. If stranded, run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
6. Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs— the use of lights, heat, and radio—with supply.
7. In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.
For more information, tips and resources for winter safety visit www.flash.org or www.greatwinterweatherparty.org.