Winter driving: are you prepared?

December 17, 2010 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

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Please excuse me for the delay in Friday’s blogs. The snow streets were to blame. Europe is currently having a real cold, snowy spell.

In such weather conditions, a 10-minute drive can become an ordeal of hours getting stuck in a traffic jam. If you are lucky, the queue might be moving a few cm a minute. If you are not, you’d be standing still. If you are really unlucky, you’d be in that ambulance.

Upon coming home from an extremely stressy drive, but still very thankful that I got home safely, I immediately checked out resources for safe winter driving.

Preparing for winter driving is basically preparing the vehicle and the driver.

The car

Is your car winter-ready? Our local garage always offers us a winter check-up package that includes checking:

  • Lights
  • Brakes
  • Defroster
  • Wipers, including anti-freeze windshield washer fluid
  • Tires. Take note that in many countries, winter tires are compulsory. In some mountain areas in Switzerland, snow chains may be required depending on the weather conditions.

The driver

  • Ask yourself: do you really have the drive? Can the trip wait till weather conditions improve? Is there an alternative way of getting there?
  • Be alert. Winter driving requires a lot of concentration. If you are very tired or slightly tipsy or extreme nervous, then maybe it is best to leave the car and walk or take the public transport.
  • Dress comfortably and warmly. Bring extra warm clothes for everybody in the car in case you need get out of the car or stay in an unheated car for a long period of time.

The official site of the province of Ontario, Canada gives us useful tips on winter driving. I find the following checklist from the site very helpful:

  • Ice scraper/snowbrush
  • Shovel
  • Sand or other traction aid
  • Tow rope or chain
  • Booster cables
  • Road flares or warning lights
  • Gas line antifreeze
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Small tool kit
  • Extra clothing and footwear
  • Blanket
  • Non-perishable energy foods – e.g., chocolate or granola bars, juice, soup, bottled water
  • Candle and a small tin can
  • Matches

I’d like to add my own must-haves in the car:

  • A fully charged mobile phone
  • A reflector vest (one for each passenger is required by law in Europe)
  • A windshield foil that I can use to protect the windshield from snow or freezing in case I need to park outside (saves a lot of time because I do not have to scrape or defrost before driving off).
  • De-icing liquid for the windshield and doors.
  • A bottle of water

So how do you get prepare for winter driving?

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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