Car Safety During Winter Months

The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation-related accidents. Preparing your car for the winter and knowing how to reach if stranded or lost on the road are keys to safe winter driving.

These tips might help you to avoid a transportation-related emergency:

  • Have a mechanic thoroughly check your vehicle, including the battery, antifreeze, wipers, wiper fluid levels, oil level, brakes and defroster

  • Make sure your tires have adequate tread

  • Keep at least one windshield scraper and a small broom in your car for ice and snow removal

  • Have a portable, battery-powered radio in your car

  • Maintain at least half a tank of gas during the winter season

  • Dress warmly; wear layers of loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing

  • Carry food (such as snacks), bottled water and a can opener

  • Keep extra necessary medications and baby items in your car

  • Carry a winter car kit in your car that includes:

    • Flashlight

    • Batteries

    • First-aid kit

    • Pocket knife

    • Blankets

    • Sleeping bag

    • Matches

    • Gloves

    • Hat

    • Extra clothes

    • Small bag of sand

    • Shovel

    • Tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver)

    • Booster cables

    • Food and water

    • A red cloth to use as a trouble sign

If you become stranded in your vehicle during a longer trip, use the supplies in your car kit and display your trouble sign. Don't leave the vehicle in severe weather, unless help is nearby. Do minor exercises in your car. Occasionally, for no more than 10 minutes at a time, run the vehicle, but make sure to crack the window open to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.