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10 Winter Travel Safety Tips

Travelling in the winter requires special precautions to keep you and your family safe.  Preparing in advance can ensure that you arrive at your destination safely.   In the fall, have your tires checked to make sure that they are going to give you enough traction to stay on the roads when the wet, snowy, and icy weather arrives.  Before going on a long road trip have any service issues with your car repaired.  A broken down car in winter can lead to very dangerous situation.  Severe winter weather can sometimes come on quickly and in spite of your preparation you may find yourself stranded.  Here are some winter safety tips to help keep you safe until help arrives.

  1. Candles, a lighter, and matches are very important parts of a winter survival kit.  In an enclosed vehicle the warmth from a candle may be enough to stop frostbite from setting in. 
  2. A thermal blanket is also a helpful item to have.  They are compact and lightweight and reflect body heat back to keep you warm.  If you do not have a thermal blanket put a regular blanket in, they will take a bit more space but they will keep you warm.
  3. If your vehicle is still running but you are stuck run the heat in your car but be sure that the tailpipe of your vehicle is not covered over in snow.  Dangerous carbon monoxide can enter the vehicle if the tailpipe is blocked.
  4. Keep some high energy food in your car.  Nuts, granola bars, or energy bars are all compact sources of calories that your body will need to keep warm. 
  5. A shovel is also a handy item to keep in your car.  If you go off the road you may need to be able to dig yourself out.   In severe cold do not try to dig yourself out, you will lose a lot of heat and get wet and it will be difficult to warm yourself again if you are unable to free your vehicle.
  6. Mittens and boots should be kept in your vehicle throughout the winter.  Extremities are the first parts of the body to suffer in the cold and an extra set of warm, dry mittens and boots can make a big difference.
  7. Flares, flags, or reflectors can be used to alert people in the vicinity of your location.
  8. A lightweight tin plate or cup should be kept with your candle.  If you are stranded and thirsty melt snow in your cup with your candle.  Do not eat snow to relieve your thirst.  The snow must be melted and warmed slightly; eating snow will reduce your core body temperature.
  9. Unless you can see a nearby house or busy road do not leave your vehicle.   Your vehicle offers protection from the cold and you are more likely to be spotted than if you leave it.
  10. If you have your cell phone with you preserve your batteries until help arrives.  In extreme cold the batteries do not last very long so keep it inside your jacket.

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