Prepare your car
According to the Department of Transportation, 22% of all vehicle crashes in the U.S. – and 16% of the fatalities – are due to severe weather such as rain, snow, sleet and ice.1 So, prepare your car for treacherous conditions and extremely cold temperatures – and know what to do if you find yourself stranded in a vehicle. When the temperatures start to drop:
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, travel during the day.
- Don’t travel alone. Keep others informed of your schedule.
- Stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
- Top off antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, gas, oil and other fluids.
- Make sure your tires have enough tread. Consider snow tires.
- Keep bagged salt or sand in the trunk for extra traction and to melt ice.
- Clear snow from the top of the car, headlights and windows.
- Save the numbers for your auto club, insurance agent and towing service into your cell phone.
- Keep a cold-weather kit in your trunk to include: a blanket or sleeping bag, gloves, non-perishable snacks like nuts, bottled water, folding shovel, first aid kit, flashlight, flare and cell phone charger. Complete list of car kit essentials.
If you’re trapped in a vehicle
- Remain inside. Rescuers are more likely to find you there.
- Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes every hour. Clear any snow from the exhaust pipe to reduce your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Move around to maintain heat.
- Use maps, floor mats and seat covers for insulation.
- Take turns sleeping. Someone should always be awake to alert rescuers.
- Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Turn on the inside light at night so rescue crews can find you.
- If you’re stranded in a remote area, stomp out the words "SOS" or "HELP" in the snow.
For other Winter Safety tips, visit Ready.gov