Much of the country now finds itself in the midst of snowy or exorbitantly cold weather, and as such, it becomes even more important to exercise the proper precautions on the road. That means driving in the safest manner certainly, but it also means being prepared for adversity when it strikes.
A new report highlights, with the help of the Department of Transportation of Colorado, the myriad ways that you can keep an accident from happening, but today, we’d like to hone in on the section that outlines how you can ensure safety if you are involved in some type of accident or your vehicle becomes stalled on the side of the road. Knowing these precautions is vital to staving off disaster amid cold temperatures that can quickly turn an annoying situation into a potential tragedy.
Visibility is typically diminished in the winter. Snow may be falling, making it hard for headlights to penetrate the elements, and grime and debris can collect on the windshields and lights of vehicles. In such a situation, you need to do whatever you can to make your presence known and to get out of the way of drivers who may be less attentive.
That means that, if you’re stalled or involved in an accident, your first step should be moving the vehicle out of the lanes of travel if doing so is possible. As you’re doing this, and even if you’re not able to do this, then at the very least flick on your emergency flashers so that other drivers can see you from far away. When the vehicle is pulled to the side, you may want to conduct a walk around your car, using a brush to clear your various lights of snow.
Hopefully you knew your route ahead of time and have a good idea where you are so you can tell emergency officials. If not, use a map application on your phone, seek out your location from an atlas, or else look for the nearest mile marker so you can report the appropriate locale to emergency officials. During storms, police will be roving around looking for trouble situations, but you probably don’t want to wait for an emergency responder to chance upon you.
In the winter, it’s always advisable to top off your gas tank at more than half. Not only does this help avoid freezing of the tank, it can allow you to get more from your vehicle stopped on the side of the road. Although you don’t want to keep the engine running constantly, especially in light of the carbon monoxide buildup risk, you can run it intermittently for heat. Don’t plug things like DVD players into a charger, as these will drain your battery and gas much more quickly.
Finally, stick to the interior of the vehicle until help arrives, and if for some reason you have to exit, stay as far from the road as possible.