Well-Equipped for Winter Driving

Winter driving can be stressful at best, dangerous at worst. Pack some extra patience and a winter emergency road kit. Featured: 2017 Ford Expedition from Baxter Auto. 

The kids are buckled in, their electronics fully-charged, toothbrushes and jammies packed. The long-anticipated holiday road trip is about to commence – and then the flakes start to fall. Time to pack some extra patience as well.

“Always reduce your speed and increase your following distance when poor weather conditions prevail,” says Rose White with AAA – The Auto Club Group.

We know winter driving can be stressful at best, dangerous at worst. That’s why AAA, the Nebraska Department of Roads and the Nebraska State Patrol are quick to urge drivers to slow down and heed some other slick weather suggestions.

AAA:

  • Avoid fast acceleration and hard braking to help prevent skidding.
  • Look farther ahead in traffic. The actions of other drivers can alert you to problems.
  • Never use cruise control if roads are wet or slick. “On some vehicles, the engine may accelerate if it senses a traction issue,” White advises. 

Nebraska Department of Roads:

  • Stay well behind snowplows (at least 100 feet) and be extremely cautious if you need to pass. 
  • Keep headlights on and make sure headlights, taillights and windows are clean.
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest road conditions and travel advisories by utilizing the 511 Advanced Traveler Information System, accessible by phone, website and mobile app. 

Nebraska State Patrol:

  • Always wear seat belts.
  • Never drive impaired or distracted.
  • Obey the posted speed limit, but don’t travel faster than conditions allow.

“We want everyone to be home for the holidays – and every day,” says Col. Brad Rice, superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol.

Making your vehicle a shelter on wheels

Should you become stranded, it is often safer to stay with your vehicle. “With the items recommended in a winter emergency kit, your vehicle becomes a shelter on wheels,” White says.

AAA-recommended essentials for a winter emergency road kit:

  • Container of sand or salt
  • Small snow shovel and ice scraper
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Winter-grade windshield washer fluid
  • First-aid kit
  • Nonperishable, high-protein snacks
  • Blankets or a thermal sleeping bag, boots, heavy socks, gloves, hat and scarves
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares or triangles
  • Basic toolkit
  • Fully charged mobile phone pre-programmed with important phone numbers

The catch-all piece of advice for inclement weather still stands. If travel is not absolutely necessary, it is best to hunker down at home.

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