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Emergency Management

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Winter Driving Safety

Winter Driving Tips

Before you start driving in your automobile, always remember to fasten your safety belts, and clean snow and ice off of your windshield, wiper blades, and exterior car lights. Winter driving is different from driving on dry pavement (for all types of vehicles including four-wheel drive vehicles, SUV's, and all-wheel drive vehicles. Roads become narrower due to snow pushed on the sides of the road, icy spots are 10 times more slippery than dry pavement, and visibility can be poor due to blowing snow. As a driver you must reduce your speed and increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to improve response time. Some additional recommendations include the following:

1) In blowing snow or fog, use your low beam headlights rather than high beams.

2) When slowing down, pump your car brakes in short repeated strokes--THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO AN ANTI-LOCKING (ABS) BRAKING SYSTEM.

3) On slippery hills, do not "gun" the motor. Negotiate hills slow and easy!

4) If you get stuck, clear a path with a shovel in front and in back of your vehicle, put sand or gravel on the cleared path, and slowly accelerate (with a standard transmission-rock try rocking back and forth to get free) without spinning the tires. Always remember to remain calm and to avoid over-exerting yourself.


Winter Tire Tips

For the best traction in severe snow and icy conditions, use reinforced tire chains. Even if you drive with snow or all weather tires, keep a set of chains in your trunk. Keep the tire pressure at the recommended level. When you are stuck, some slight deflating may help your traction by placing more tread on the surface road, however this will increase tire wear. If you do slightly deflate tire pressure for traction, re-inflate the tires to the recommended pressure as soon as possible. You can add extra weight in the trunk of a rear-wheel drive vehicle to help traction. If you add weight for traction, make sure the weight is stationary, otherwise the vehicle may be more prone to spin outs. Place the weight as close as possible to the drive wheels. Weight in the trunk of a front-wheel drive car is not necessary! Do not spin your tires, because this causes friction that turns snow into ice, which will causes your automobile to get stuck even further.


What to do if stranded in vehicle during a blizzard

Before you start out on any winter trip, it is always smart to check the travel conditions for the location you are traveling. If there are closed roads because of severe winter weather, obey the law and do not attempt to travel on closed highways. If you are stranded in a blizzard, stay in your vehicle. Disorientation and hypothermia occurs quickly in blowing and drifting snow. You are more likely to be found in your vehicle, and it will provide the best possible shelter. If you do get stranded, there are some common sense recommendations:

1) Do not panic.

2) Stay in your vehicle.

3) Use supplies conservatively from your vehicle supplies kit.

4) If you are stuck during the day place an orange or red flag on your antenna. At night leave your dome light on, only while the car is running.

5) Remember to occasionally check your tailpipe to make sure it is free of snow. Clean the pipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when the engine is running.

6) If there is more than one person in the car, take turns sleeping. If you are alone in the car, do not sleep while the engine is running.

7) Do some minor exercising in the vehicle to keep up circulation.

8) If you have a cellular phone, call for assistance and provide authorities with your location. Do not run down the battery!

9) When the snow has stopped. Try stamping a big "HELP" signal in the snow beside your vehicle.

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