PREPARING FOR WINTER TRAVEL
If you must travel during a winter storm, be prepared and use caution as well as common sense.
Winter driving can be hazardous and scary, especially in northern regions that get a lot of snow and ice. Additional preparations can help make a trip safer, or help motorists deal with an emergency.
Before you go anywhere, make sure your vehicle is in good working condition. In particular, check the antifreeze, tire pressure and tread, brakes, windshield wipers, heater, defroster, and exhaust system. When traveling through snow country, motorists should carry tire chains that are the proper type and size, and are in good condition. Chains must be installed on the drive wheels, so make sure you know if your vehicle is front or rear wheel drive. Other useful items to take are a flashlight, chain repair links, ice scraper or spray deicer, and a shovel. Taking along water, food, warm blankets, and extra clothing will make you more comfortable if you experience a lengthy delay. And before you leave, put an extra car door key in your pocket; a number of motorists have locked themselves out of their cars when putting on chains.
Don’t be rushed. Get an early start to allow more time to reach your destination. Let someone know your travel plans, your route, and when you expect to arrive. Make sure to let them know if plans change. Keep your fuel tank full in case it’s necessary to change routes or you get caught in a traffic delay. A highway speed of 55 or 65 miles an hour may be safe in dry weather, but it is an invitation for trouble in winter weather. Be more observant, attentive and slow down. Snow and ice make stopping distances much longer, so leave more distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. Bridge decks and shady spots can be icy when other areas are not, so remember to avoid sudden stops and quick direction changes.
If you encounter fog, make sure to slow down and drive with your lights on low beam. Don’t stop on a highway, unless it’s an emergency. Keep a close watch on your speed, and don’t forget in some states, the law requires you to have your headlights on anytime your windshield wipers are on continuously. Remember to always wear your seat belt, don’t drink and drive, and reduce your speed when on slick pavement.
Before traveling and during your trip, be sure to check current road conditions by calling the Oregon Road Conditions Hotline from any cell phone at 5-1-1. The California Highway Information Network can be reached at 1-800-427-7623. In Washington, the Washington Road Conditions Hotline is available from any cell phone at 5-1-1.
WINTER DRIVING SAFETY CHECKLIST...
Check windshield wipers and fluid
Check tires for tread, studs, make sure to carry chains
SAFETY KIT MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS...
Tow Rope or Chain
First Aid Kit
Warning Devices (Flares or Reflective Triangles)
OTHER THINGS TO MAKE SURE OF...
Make sure your cell phone is charged, carry a car charger
Allow extra time to get to your destination
Let others know which route you are taking
Have a map handy
COMMON SENSE FOR WINTER DRIVING...
Leave extra room between cars
Drive at a slower speed
Use your lights
If you are following a snowplow, continue to follow it until safe to pass
Practice winter driving in an empty parking lot to get familiar with braking and turning in the snow
YOUR LOCAL LES SCHWAB TIRE STORE IS A GREAT RESOURCE FOR PREPARING FOR WINTER DRIVING.
Get a FREE Les Schwab Pre-Trip Safety Inspection today! Below is a list of your Local Les Schwab Tire Stores.
1211 Harrison Avenue
Centralia, WA 98531
36 North Market Boulevard
Chehalis, WA 98532