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Publication: Travel Tips
Winter Road Safety

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Tips & Advice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 

Nov. 20, 2007 

I, like many other residents of the American Northeast, 
have spent most of the 2006-07 winter season walking 
around in a spring jacket and muttering about global 

The unseasonably warm weather had daffodil bulbs shooting 
up early, frogs shaking off hibernation and skiers joining 
bowling leagues. 

But this weekend, I skidded sideways down a hill with the 
emergency brake on. 

I guess things are back to normal. 

In this week's issue: 




P.S. If you're interested you can now post comments on this 
and recent issues on our forum at... Travel Tips Forum 


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Winter reasserted itself with a vengeance in several parts 
of the country this week, slamming the Midwest with a 
killer ice storm, chilling southern California, freezing 
sections of Texas and returning snow to the Great Lakes 

With it came tales of stranded motorists, 30-car pileups, 
and fatal, weather-related crashes. 

Bad weather rarely stops people from traveling. Hopefully, 
it makes them more careful. 

Here are some tips form making it through he slush and snow 
to grandma's house, the college dorm, a faraway ski slope 
or an even farther warm-weather vacation a few hundred 
miles south of wherever you park the family vehicle. 

The sources this week are my own experience, the American 
Red Cross, and Mike Bradshaw, a Kansas State University 
safety specialist whose tips have been widely quoted by 
Internet news sources. 

And here are the tips: 

* Winterize your car. 

Check tires, the brakes, and radiator and fluid levels. 

Tires need to be properly inflated and the tread should not 
be worn. As a driver who knows first hand what happens when 
partially bald tires hit slippery streets, I heartily urge 
you to pay attention to this. 

You can do a quick check with a penny. Place the top of 
Lincoln's head into one of the tire tread grooves. If any 
part of Lincoln's head is covered by the tread, you're safe 
to drive. But if you can see above Lincoln's head, or see 
any of the "In God We Trust" letters above his dome, then 
you are need a new tire. 

* Replace your blades. 

Windshield wiper blades are designed to remove water; using 
them for other purposes, like removing snow or ice from the 
windshield, can damage them. 

* Check your washer fluid. 

While you're checking your blades, top off the windshield-
washer fluid reservoir. Trust me, it's not cool to be the 
guy making his way down the thruway with his head out the 
window like a Labrador retriever. And it's no fun to have 
to scrub the windshield with snowballs at every rest stop. 

* Bring a cell phone 

Most folks put phones in the same category as their wallet 
or car keys and don't ever leave home without them. I'm not 
one of those people. So I, like a lot of you, need to make 
a special effort to make sure my cell phone - or my wife's 
- is charged and in my pocket when the weather is making 
travel difficult. 

Oh, those on pay-as-you-go plans should also make sure that 
they have enough minutes purchased to get them through an 

* Prepare to snuggle. 

Keep blankets in the trunk in case you become stranded. 
On long trips, passengers in the back seat, especially 
kids, might want to use them while you drive. 

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* Make an emergency kit 

I’m not talking about a first-aid kid. You should have that 

Winter travel requires an emergency kit that should contain 
- at a minimum -  a snow brush and ice scraper, a flash-
light with fresh batteries, and jumper cables. You might 
want to also pack a small snow shovel and a container of an 
abrasive material, such as sand or cat litter. (You can 
substitute a small stack of traction mats, like a set of 
older floor mats or carpet scraps).   

* Aim the needle at "F". 

Keep your gas tank near full. This keeps ice from forming 
in the tank and fuel lines.   

It also keeps you from running out of fuel in the middle 
of a snowstorm. If you become stranded and are waiting to 
be rescued, there are few things more terrifying than the 
feeling of helplessness that comes from knowing you can't 
run the heater while the wind howls and the snow piles up 
around you. 

* Adopt the layered look 

Before traveling, make sure you and all passengers are 
dressed warmly. Several lighter layers are better than a 
large, heavy outer layer. 

* Keep your distance 

Winter drivers should reduce speed and allow a greater 
distance between vehicles. This gives you more time and 
distance to stop. That can give you crucial room to 
maneuver and avoid an accident.   

* Don't get cocky   

Driving on a recently plowed road does not necessarily mean 
'resume normal speed.' Plowed or partially cleared roads 
may still not be free of snow or icy patches. Bridges may 
be icy, too.   

* Don't panic.   

Steer into a skid. Don't slam on your brakes, but quickly 
test your brake response. With anti-lock brakes, press 
the brake pedal and steer. You'll hear a whirring that 
indicates the mechanism is working. Without an anti-lock 
braking system, pump the brakes to keep wheels from locking 

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If you become stranded during a winter storm, there are 
some things you can do to increase your chances of rescue, 
and therefore, survival: 

* Stay with your car. 

Do not try to walk to safety. You can become disoriented. 
That makes you a prime candidate for developing hypothermia 
or frostbite. 

* Advertise. 

Tie a brightly colored cloth, preferably red, to your 
antenna so rescuers can easily see you. 

* Ration your fuel. 

Run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour. 
Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow or 

* Light it up. 

Leave the overhead light on inside the car when the engine 
is running, so you can be seen. Don NOT, however, forget 
to turn it off when you shut down the engine. Even a little 
light can drain a car battery, and once you run the battery 
down, you won’t be able to start the car up again. 

* Move in place. 

While sitting, move arms and legs continuously to keep your 
blood circulating and to stay warm. 

* Don’t suffocate.   

When the vehicle is running, keep one window open to let 
fresh air in and reduce the risk of carbon monoxide 
poisoning. If the engine is off, shut the windows tight 
to conserve what little heat you have. 

* Signal for help. 

After the snow or ice has stopped falling, raise the hood 
to indicate that you need assistance. 

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   



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