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Winter driving

  • 6 Days Stranded in a Car: The Case for Winter Driving Preparedness

    Anyone who has spun off an icy road knows the dangers of winter driving. But when a family was traveling from Oregon to California, their trip took a dangerous turn.

    stranded-family-via-yahoo-news The Sanquist family - via Yahoo News

    Following their GPS to reach their destination in the fastest way possible, the Sanquist family found themselves stuck on a snow-covered road. The mother and father were with their 9-year-old daughter and the family dog. They were trapped overnight, but managed to make the trek out for help in the morning.

    Ron, the husband and father, lamented that cell service was unavailable, and they had no shovel to use in order to dig themselves out. If his two-mile hike in the morning hadn’t given him cell service, who knows how much farther he would have had to walk in the snow?

    Another, similar experience that happened to a couple in Wyoming was even more dangerous.

    In 2013, Mark Wathke and his wife, Kristine spent six days in their car – stuck in a foot of snow – before they were found. Again, they were following their GPS, trying to get to Montana from Yellowstone National Park, when it took them down a highway that is always closed during the winter due to treacherous weather conditions.

    “We never saw any road-closed sign, any barricades,” said Kristine, “[nothing] indicating it was trouble.”

    But trouble there was.

    All they had in their car was a bit of food for their road trip, and by the time they realized they weren’t going anywhere, all that was left was eight pieces of bread, half a jar of jelly, and a few bottles of water. During the nights, temperatures dropped below zero. They put on layers of clothing from their suitcases to stay warm.

    They even got out a notebook and wrote goodbye letters to their friends and loved ones.

    Fortunately, on the sixth day, a rancher found them on his snowmobile. He was able to rescue them and see them safely off.

    Both scenarios show two different groups equally unprepared. Fortunately, both parties eventually got out of their predicaments, but only after a frightening experience. Both groups were regular people, just like you. So what sets you aside as someone who would fare better?

    Preparation is one thing. Your trunk should have some sort of emergency kit, consisting of food, water, warmth, and some necessary tools like a radio, whistle, and shovel. These are all items both groups could have benefited from while stuck in the snow. Small, folding shovels tuck nicely into a corner of your trunk. They don’t take up much room, but are certainly a welcome companion when you need to dig out your car.

    Nobody plans on getting stuck in the snow. In both these examples, they were even following directions from their GPS. Even if you think your directions are reliable, don’t put yourself in danger if the roads or terrain looks even slightly risky.

    But above all else, make sure you have the gear you need to survive a lengthy stay in the cold should you find yourself in a similar situation.



  • Winter Driving Tips that May Save your Life

    Winter driving tips that may save your life

    Quite frankly, winter driving can be a pain in the neck.  The conditions can make the road dangerous and your car may not respond the way it does in warmer weather. On icy roads, everything takes longer to do safely—starting, stopping, and making turns. Here are some winter driving tips to help you stay safe on the road:


    Learn How to Drive Safely in Snow

      • Don’t pass snowplows or sanding trucks—even if they’re slow.
      • Don’t tailgate! Leave extra room between vehicles and avoid pulling right in front of another vehicle; the driver may not be able to brake quickly enough to let you in.
      • Do everything gently—do not over-steer, stomp your brakes, or try to accelerate quickly from a stop. Overreacting can easily send your car out of control.
      • Do not use cruise control in areas where an unexpected patch of ice might cause you to tap your brake; you could spin out of control. Never “pump” anti-lock brakes.
      • Swirling, blowing snow on the highway can be disorienting; slow down and watch for cars drifting into your lane. Turn on your low-beam lights so other drivers can see you. During daylight hours, polarized sunglasses may help you see better.


    Learn What to Do if You’re Stuck in Snow or Ice

      • If you get stuck in snow, don’t sit spinning your wheels—that just gets you in deeper. DO turn wheels from side to side if possible, use your emergency folding shovel to dig out around your tires, and pour kitty litter, sand, salt, or gravel in the path of the tires to give them traction. When you feel your tires beginning to catch, accelerate slowly to ease your vehicle out.
      • If you can’t get your car out, stay put, only getting out occasionally to clear snow from your tailpipe so that you can safely run your heater from time to time. Call for help and try to identify your location. Flares and reflective triangles may signal other drivers to help you—or at least avoid hitting you! A red cloth hanging out the driver’s window is a signal for help.
      • If the roads are icy, drive very slowly. It takes at least twice as long to stop on ice as on dry pavement—and a whopping nine times as long to stop on black ice as on dry pavement!
      • Bridges and overpasses ice up more quickly than regular roadways. Be aware that black ice (sometimes called “clear ice”) often just looks like wet pavement; it also lurks in tunnels or on roadways close to bodies of water.
      • NEVER assume that a front-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle can safely negotiate icy roads at normal speeds. Ice is no respecter of vehicles!


    We hope you get where you're going safe and sound—no matter what weather you may face on the roads.


    Also, don’t forget to store an emergency kit in your car. Check out our Insight articles, "Baby Steps: Time to Winterize your Grab and go Bag” and “How to Winterize your Car” for more winter safety and preparedness tips.








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