It's almost time to go over the river and through the woods to
Grandma's house for the holidays. OK, chances are you're going to
be taking the Interstate instead, but you still need to know how to
get there safely.
These tips from Rand
McNally are good ones to keep in mind:
1. Know the differences among various winter weather advisories.
The National Weather Service issues several cautions; understand
what they mean before you hit the road:
advisories are for conditions that may be hazardous, but
should not become life threatening when using caution.
watches mean that severe winter conditions may affect your
area and are issued 12-36 hours in advance of major storms.
warnings mean a storm bringing four or more inches of
snow/sleet is expected in the next 12 hours, or six or more inches
in 24 hours.
mean snow and strong winds will produce blinding snow, deep drifts,
and a life-threatening wind chill.
2. Let someone know your timetable and travel route. This is
especially important if you'll be driving in areas with little
traffic, rural locations, or large park areas.
3. Prevention is the best medicine: Driving slowly and
maintaining plenty of room between you and the next car is the
easiest way to avoid accidents. We all want to get to Christmas
dinner faster but that extra 30 minutes could save your life. In
bad weather, allow for three-to-12 times more stopping distance
depending on the size of your vehicle.
4. Stock your car with a shovel, broom, ice scraper, jumper
cables, blankets, flashlight, warning devices (flares), sand or
kitty litter, and high-calorie non-perishable food.
5. Keep spare, charged batteries for cell phones in your
car. Duracell and others make instant chargers for popular phones
such as the iPhone. If your car battery dies, you will be glad you
spent the extra $15 to reach help. If you regularly travel to very
remote areas where cell towers are few and far between, consider
investing in a satellite telephone or an in-car service like
6. Keep your gas tank full to prevent the fuel line from
freezing. Also, make sure the windshield wiper fluid reservoir is
7. Check to make sure your lights and windshield
wipers are functioning properly. In most states it is illegal to
drive if either is malfunctioning; and in certain weather
situations it is also extremely unsafe.
8. If you get stuck in the snow, stay in your
car - it's your best shelter. Don't leave unless help is within 100
9. Nearly 60 percent of accidents are the result of
improper driving. Whether you've had a bit too much pie or a bit
too much pilsner, don't drive until you are fully awake and not
impaired by anything. Most adults know well enough not to drink and
drive, but few realize accidents are just as easily caused by being
drowsy or impaired by legal drugs like cold medicines. When in
doubt, pull to the side of the road or check into a motel for a
10. Carry a first aid kit in the car with you.
This is especially important if you have children or the elderly
riding with you.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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