Ensuring Travel Safety When Winter Weather Has Other Ideas

Posted on December 20, 2012

Here in Los Angeles, we’re accustomed to sterling weather patterns all the year round.  But that’s hardly the case in other parts of the country, and indeed even in other parts of California.  This morning, citizens from around the nation woke up to find the streets covered in snow.  And although we may not have been affected, there are no doubt many Californians who will be traveling to those parts of the country where the streets have been compromised by winter weather.  If you fall into this category, make sure you stay safe by understanding these tips from the Nebraska Department of Roads and the State Patrol.

California citizens traveling to other environs can begin by taking the same precautions they should be taking all year long.  That means using a seatbelt and refraining from cellphone usage and texting that could take your focus off the road.  On winter roads, you should also drop your speed to a suitable level where you won’t be in danger of losing control should you be required to turn or stop quickly.

You also need to alter your route so that you’re not traveling down roads that hold additional dangers.  Main arteries are those most likely to receive attention from plows, so make sure you stick to these as long as you can.  To further protect yourself from a crash, leave ample distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.  It’s difficult to stop in the snow, and the last thing you want is to be in a wreck when cold weather howls outside your windows.

Visibility can be compromised in the winter, but you can limit the danger by keeping your headlights on at all times.  Promoting visibility also extends to those instances where your vehicle gets stranded along the side of the road.  It can be hard for winter travelers to see you in such circumstances, so keep something like a red or orange bandana on hand that you can tie to your antenna should you have to pull over for any reason.

You can also protect yourself during these times by having a winter weather kit in your trunk or the cab of the vehicle.  If you have a cellphone, call for help, but don’t wait outside the vehicle in the frigid weather if you can avoid it.  Instead, step out only in short increments to clear snow away from your exhaust.  Only turn the engine on intermittently so that carbon monoxide doesn’t compromise your safety, and further protect the cab’s interior by rolling the window a crack.

Finally, although it might be tempting when you’re trying to get to your destination quickly, do not flick on the cruise control.  This system is not designed for slick or snowy roads and should not be used at such times.

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