Indiana winter weather is unpredictable and road conditions change quickly when the snow and ice begin to fall. Traveling to and from family events, work and school can be treacherous if you are not properly prepared. This last Friday, three Indiana residents in Hamilton County were killed because of icy conditions.
By taking a few simple precautions, you may avoid some minor inconveniences and serious injuries.
BEFORE YOU HIT THE ROAD:
– Ensure that your car is in excellent working order.
– Make sure your windshield wipers are working well.
– Check your tires for proper inflation. You will need all the traction you can get. Cold weather decreases air pressure in tires. Check them frequently through the winter months.
– Never allow your gas tank to drop below half. If stranded, you may need the additional fuel. This can also prevent icing in your tank and the added weight will increase your stability on the snow-covered roads.
– Have a cell phone and a charger.
– Pack emergency supplies. A windshield scraper, flashlight, blankets, gloves and snacks are all important when stranded in your car.
– Inform friends and family of your destination, the route you intend to take and when you expect to arrive.
– Check road reports. Some routes are notorious for slide-offs and serious accidents. You may want to plan a different course in the event of inclement weather.
– Get plenty of rest. Driving while tired puts you and others at an increased risk for injury.
ONCE ON THE ROADS:
– Drive with your headlights on.
– Keep your windshield clean. Freezing rain and snow can be a problem for visibility. If you must, pull into a parking lot and scrape your windshield.
– Always wear a seat belt.
– Drive with the road conditions in mind. It takes longer to stop on snow-covered roads. Allow more space between cars. AAA suggests a distance of eight to ten seconds between vehicles.
– Trucks require more time to stop in hazardous road conditions. Never pull out in front of an on-coming truck. You may not have the traction you expect and the truck may not be able to slow down enough to avoid you.
– Cruise control is not for winter weather. You need to be in control of the car at all times. Do not let the car control you.