Millions of Americans will do some traveling this holiday season – the majority of it by car. Winter weather creates a unique set of challenges on the roadways, whether you’re simply driving around Oak Creek or headed to New Berlin.
At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we’d like to help you not only enjoy your holiday season, but help ensure you’ll be around for future holidays, too! So please take these winter-travel safety tips to heart.
Prepare your car for winter
Before leaving on your trip in SE Wisconsin, give your car a thorough check-up. Do wipers need to be replaced? Are your fluid levels where they should be? Tires in good shape? And – we know you’ve heard this before, but bear with us – your car should have an emergency kit. Pack it with jumper cables, blankets, a first-aid kit, flares, water, a flashlight, etc. A shovel and sand are good ideas as well.
Before you leave
Know where you’re going and check weather conditions along your planned route. Let someone know your itinerary. If your car has snow or ice on it, make sure it is completely cleared off before you depart. Don’t forget to clear your headlights and other lights, along with the roof – ice and snow blowing from your car could create a hazard for other drivers.
When you’re on the road
Are roads snowy or icy? Take it slow. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination, and make sure you leave extra room between your vehicle and others on the road. Watch for ice patches on bridges, overpasses, and shady spots. Remember, having four-wheel or all-wheel drive does not mean your car will stop or steer better on ice.
Of course, sometimes it’s best not to drive in snow and ice at all – stay home if you can.
If your vehicle becomes disabled
Nobody wants to think about being stranded on the side of the road in a storm, but it happens to thousands of people every year. If your vehicle is disabled, be sure to stay with it. Run your engine and heater for short intervals, and open one of your windows slightly to prevent carbon monoxide build-up. Light two flares (remember that vehicle emergency kit? Now’s the time to use it) and place one a safe distance from both the front and rear of your vehicle. Note your location with mileposts, exit numbers or cross-streets, and call the authorities or a tow truck.
We hope you enjoy your holidays with friends and family, and we look forward to serving you in the New Year!