With the falling of leaves, and the brisk cool breeze in the air, it can only mean one thing: winter is upon us! Now although us in North Dakota are aware of many conditions that winter brings, it is always good to review winter travel safety around this time of the year no matter where one lives. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states the three P’s of safe winter driving are preparing for the trip; protecting yourself; and preventing crashes on the road! These are important to keep in mind before taking off on any trip during the winter weather season.
· When it comes to this time of the year, it is always a good idea to get your car serviced or checked out for any needed repairs. Some other good things to check for are the battery, tire thread and pressure, and windshield wipers. Another thing to keep your windows clear during the winter months is to replace your windshield wiper fluid with no-freeze fluid for the winter months, and be sure to check the antifreeze levels as well so that the vehicle is all set for the cold weather.
· It is also a good idea to have on hand a variety of items if one becomes stranded, i.e. flashlight (with extra batteries), jumper cables, battery powered radio, blankets or sleeping bags, first aid kit, shovel, tow rope, food and water to name a few.
· If the vehicle has come to a stop or the car is stalled, stay in the car do not overexert yourself. Also, one can put bright markers on antenna or windows. If one needs to start the car to stay warm, make sure the exhaust is cleared and run it just enough to retain warmth, not in excess in an open well ventilated area.
· As always, make sure to buckle up yourself and others (including proper use of child safety seats). It is also good practice to never place a rear facing infant seat in front of an air bag, and to make sure children 12 and under are in the back seat, especially during winter travel.
· In winter conditions, slow down and make sure to increase distances between cars. This is especially important as stopping distances can increase greatly in wintery conditions where ice can be present and cause a danger. Always keep your eyes on the road for pedestrians walking. Make sure to get plenty of rest before the trip and rotate drivers if at all possible every couple of hours.
Winter driving can be very dangerous, as storms can strike with very little or no warning in advance. However, by refreshing yourself with some of these “cool” tips that OSHA provides, they can help make your trips much safer and hopefully prevent motor vehicle injuries due to winter storms!
Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday.
Kolton LarsonDemand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company