Independence Police Department
Winter Driving Tips
PREPARE YOUR CAR FOR WINTER
You can avoid many dangerous winter travel problems by planning ahead. Have maintenance service on your vehicle as often as the manufacturer recommends.
In addition, every fall:
- Have the radiator system serviced, or check the antifreeze level yourself with an antifreeze tester. Add antifreeze, as needed.
- Replace windshield wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture.
- Replace any worn tires, and check the air pressure in the tires. Always follow manufacturer's recommendations.
- During winter, keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
Equip your car with these items:
- Cell phone and charger
- first aid kit
- A can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for water)
- Windshield scraper
- Booster cables
- Tool kit
- Paper towels
- Bag of sand or cat litter (to pour on ice or snow for added traction)
- Tire chains
- Collapsible shovel
- High calorie canned or dried foods and a can opener
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Canned compressed air with sealant (for emergency tire repair) brightly colored cloth
Be cautious about travel:
- Listen for radio or television reports of travel advisories issued by the National Weather Service
- Avoid traveling on ice covered roads if possible
- If you must travel, let someone know your destination and when you expect to arrive. Ask them to notify authorities if you are late
- Check and restock the winter emergency supplies in your car before you leave
- Never pour water on your windshield to remove ice or snow; shattering may occur
- Never rely on your car to provide sufficient heat; the car may break down. Always dress warmly
- Always carry clothing appropriate for winter conditions
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET STRANDED
Staying in your vehicle when stranded is often the safest choice if winter storms create poor visibility or if roadways are ice covered. These steps will increase your safety when stranded:
- Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna as a signal to rescuers
- Move anything you need from the trunk into the passenger area
- Wrap your entire body, including your head, in extra clothing, blankets or newspapers
- Stay awake; you will be less vulnerable to cold related health problems
- Run the motor (and heater) for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let air in; make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe; this will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
- As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to improve your circulation and stay warmer
- Do not eat un-melted snow because it will lower your body temperature.