Safe Winter Driving Tips, Part 1

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

It is no secret that Wisconsin winters can be very wet and cold. U.S. Climate Data reports that the average high temperature from December to February varies between 20 and 26 degrees Fahrenheit and nine to 14 inches of snow falls per month, making driving conditions in this wet state sometimes very different from its neighbors to the south. As the cold weather approaches, Wisconsin residents need to prepare for safe winter driving all season long. There are certain steps you can take before any storms hit to prepare yourself and your vehicle.

Winterize your ride

Cold weather can make it difficult for your vehicle to run properly, especially if there are any existing issues. Ensure that all fluid levels are sufficient and wiper blades are in good condition. Getting stuck in a storm can be deadly, so get all belts and systems checked before the season starts. Some vehicles can also benefit from snow tires during the winter.

Prepare for trouble

Being ready for an emergency can bring peace and confidence should a scary situation arise. Having a cell phone to call police is important, but you also need to be prepared in case you get stuck in an area without service or where help is unavailable. Stocking your vehicle with food and water can sustain you while you wait. B oots, blankets, coats and hot packs can also keep you alive until rescue crews arrive. Items such as a bag of cat litter, road flares and a small shovel can be useful if you get stuck. The State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation has also compiled a guide to create a coffee-can survival kit to keep in your vehicle during cold weather driving.

Know the area

Whether you are in a new place or driving the same old roads, being aware of your location not only allows you to guide emergency crews but also gives you safe escape routes during storms. Keep a map in your vehicle at all times and pay attention to where you are, but also take some time before winter hits to familiarize yourself with different areas and plan points of contact and safety, especially if you are in an area with limited cellphone reception.

Preparing now for the cold season can give you more confidence in the coming months and help you avoid harm. The next post will discuss proper driving techniques to use during winter weather. If you do become involved in a cold weather accident, be sure to seek professional help from a personal injury attorney to recover any damages.