Driving during the winter months in Iowa and Illinois can be difficult and dangerous with both states experiencing some very extreme weather conditions.
If you find yourself needing to travel during adverse weather, it’s best to be prepared with these 8 tips:
1) Have a winter travel safety kit in your vehicle.
- Cell phone charger
- Ice scraper with a brush
- Deicer (don’t use water on locks or handles)
- Tow rope
- Jumper cables
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Flares or reflective triangles
- Clay cat litter or tube sand (traction aid)
- First aid kit
- Tool kit
- Snacks (non-perishable high energy foods)
- Snow boots
- Snow pants
You can pick up an emergency roadside kit at many retail stores or online for less than $50.
2) Know how to recover from skids.
If you find yourself skidding on an icy or wet road, don’t hit your brakes too hard which can lock up the wheels.
Gently turn the wheel in the direction you want the vehicle to go.
Know if you have an anti-lock brake system (ABS) that will “pump the brakes” for you.
If you don’t know how to recover from a skid, it’s best to practice this in a safe area, such as an empty parking lot, where you won’t hit anything or anyone.
3) Keep tires in good condition and properly inflated. Ensure the battery is fully charged.
Cold weather affects tire pressure so be sure to check the pressure regularly.
Cold weather can also affect battery life. Regularly check to ensure your battery is fully charged.
In case you become stranded, you’ll need a fully charged battery for your hazard lights.
It’s also a good idea to keep the interior dome light of the vehicle on if you are stranded overnight so emergency help can see you.
4) Know your route and stick to main roads.
If your vehicle breaks down or the weather becomes too bad, you may need to pull over (see #5).
By staying on main roads, there is a greater chance of someone seeing you and stopping to help.
Drive during daylight and avoiding driving alone if you can.
5) Know what to do if you’re stranded.
If you become stranded pull off the road as far as is safe and turn on your hazards.
If you have a distress flag place it on your radio antenna or you can hang a piece of brightly colored fabric from a window.
If you have a flare or a reflective triangle, place it a good distance behind your vehicle to warn other drivers.
Be careful in doing this by ensuring you are well away from oncoming traffic.
Remain in your vehicle until help arrives.
6) Always keep a minimum of half a tank of gas.
This will prevent your gas lines from freezing but also ensure you have gas to run your engine if you become stranded.
Run the engine for 10 minutes every hour to stay warm.
Open the window while the vehicle is running to avoid carbon monoxide buildup.
Ensure that there is no snow or ice build over the vehicle’s exhaust.
7) Slow down, increase the following distance, and never use cruise control in bad weather.
Always remember to slow down when the weather is bad and increase the amount of following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
This could help you stop in time if an accident occurs. But don’t slow down so much that you cause a hazard for other drivers.
Do not use cruise control if it’s snowing or raining, period.
8) Always wear your seat belt.
Always wear your seat belt whether the vehicle is in motion or if you’re stranded on the side of the road.
We’ve all seen the YouTube videos.
Contact VanDerGinst Law
VanDerGinst Law wants you to be safe this winter season but if you are injured in a car accident, we have knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who can help guide you through the complexities of your case and help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve.
The consultation is always free and there are no attorney fees unless we win your case. We’d be honored to help.
If you suffered an injury in Iowa or Illinois, contact VanDerGinst Law P.C. at 800-960-8529 or request a free consultation.
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The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or State of Illinois.