Posted on December 18th, 2012 by Zane Cagle
According to weather forecasts for this week, we could be getting wet, fluffy slick weather. As I often blog about auto safety, I wanted to remind everyone about driving in hazardous weather and preparing your car for winter weather. In Missouri, you just never know when you will wake up and find ice and snow for your morning commute. If you remember last year, one of the first snows of the year was responsible for a huge multi-car pileup on Interstate 40. Undoubtedly, road crew supervisors and the Missouri Department of Transportation will be looking at weather forecasts to get an early start on de-icing roads in preparation for morning and afternoon commutes.
So what can you do to improve your safe commute?
- Allow extra time for your commute
- Be certain to clear your car windows and mirrors of all ice and snow. It is tempting to just clear a small peep hole if you are driving a short distance, but many accidents happen within short distances from home.
- Be certain to have plenty of gas during cold temperatures. Running on a few gallons of gas in your tank may cause your car to stall in long lines during traffic delays
- Equip your automobile with snow tires
- Wear plenty of warm clothing
- Have an emergency kit in your car that includes the following:
Basic roadside emergency kit should include the following:
1. Cell phone – not recommended that you talk on the phone while driving but being able to call for assistance from your car when stranded may make the biggest difference between inconvenience and disaster. You can call 911 from your phone, but remember that your location may not come up to 911 personnel—you may still have to give your location
2. First Aid Kid – Choose a first aid kit that allows you to address a wide range of problems from cuts or burns to major bandaging. Get familiar with what is in the kit
3. Fire extinguisher – car fires can start from short circuit to leaking oil. Get away from a vehicle that has a fire as soon as possible, but a fire extinguisher can be used to dose a small flame that has just begun
4. Warning light, hazard triangle or flares –if your vehicle becomes stranded on the side of the road, it is crucial that you make other motorists aware in order to avoid catastrophic accidents. If your battery is low or your car is completely disabled, then warning lights, hazard triangles and flares can be effective. Look for battery powered and reflective road warning signs
5. Tire gauge- This should be used monthly to check inflation pressure in all four tires and the spare. Because temperature effects tire pressure, it is also good to check the pressure after major shifts in temperature
6. Jack and lug wrench – most vehicles comes with these items but you will want to double check they are in place as well as reading the owner’s manual about their proper use. Car models that come with run flats do not have a spare and can be driven a limited number of miles with little or no air in them.
7. Foam tire sealant or a portable compressor and plug kit – for minor punctures, a foam tire sealant can get your vehicle back on the road quickly. Only use it in emergency situations as many tire shops will refuse to repair a tire because of the sticky residue these sealants leave inside. Be sure to choose a sealant that is labeled as nonflammable and DO NOT consider this a permanent fix. A portable DC-powered air compressor can also be used to inflate a tire and is handy if the tire suffers a slow leak—to order to properly fix a puncture—you need to have it professionally repaired.
8. Spare fuses – refer to the owner’s manual
9. Jumper cables or a portable battery booster- Jumper cables are easy to use if you have a second vehicle. A portable battery booster eliminates the need for a second car.
10. Flashlight – critical at night. Chose a flashlight that is bright and weather proof. Freestanding flashlights or head flashlights can free up your hands. Be sure to change out the batteries and have spare batteries.
11. Gloves, hand cleaner and clean rags – even the simplest jobs can get your hands dirty. Gloves, cleaner and rags keep you from getting your clothing soiled
12. Auto-club car or roadside-assistance number-If you belong to an auto club or roadside-assistance program, be sure to carry the card with you as well as the necessary information that you will need to give to the club/program when you call
13. Disposable flash camera. If you are in an accident at night, you will need to take photographs. Often cell phones will have a flash on them and you can use the cell phone. A back up camera is good in case your phone is damaged or misplaced during the accident.
14. $20 in small bills and change – keep this money available for miscellaneous use. Avoid dipping into the fund for ice cream or treat use
15. Pen and pad of paper – this can come in handy for leaving a note on the windshield to jotting down information after a crash.
Winterize your emergency kit:
Windshield scraper – visibility is crucial
Tire chains and tow strap – know how to put chains on your vehicle’s tires before you need to do it in cold and dark conditions
Blanket and winter hat – if you run out of fuel or your battery dies, the blanket and hat can help keep you warm while you wait
Chemical hand warmers – small inexpensive packets are available at ski shops and sporting good stores
Small folding shovel – if you get stuck in the snow. Folding shovel will require more digging but is more easily stored in the trunk
Bag of cat litter – can help boost traction
So you are thinking…………….how will I get and store all of this crap in my car? Sporting goods stores and larger stores like Wal-Mart and Target offer emergency kits that are already put together and require small space in your trunk. Having an emergency kit can be the difference between life and death. Even if you do not use it, it is worth the time and small expense. At the very least, do not travel without a working cell phone. Emergency assistance while on interstates and highways is critical. The longer you are stranded on the side of the road, the more danger you are in.
All too often, I see clients who were injured when they car stalled or they had a flat tire on a busy interstate or highway. Interstates and highways are dangerous for stranded motorists. Be safe out there and be prepared!
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident and you or a loved one has been seriously injured, then you need legal representation. Personal injury attorneys offer free consultations where you can get free advice. Call The Cagle Law Firm at 1(314) 276-1681 for your free consultation today so that you have the valuable information that you need to make the best decision for you and your family.