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Winter driving tips offered to motorists by state police

Winter driving tips offered to motorists by state police

Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:05 pm

 With the onset of winter and motorists having to drive in inclement weather, the Kentucky State Police Department is offering safe driving tips. “Winter provides new challenges and responsibilities to the public and the Kentucky State Police,” KSP commissioner Rodney Brewer said. “We ask that drivers be prepared to meet the challenges of the upcoming winter season … Plan ahead, make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained, drive defensively and be sure the vehicle is properly maintained to handle the effects of cold temperatures.” The KSP reported that slippery roads were the contributing factor in 12,175 crashes and 67 fatalites in 2007. Capt. Tim Lucas, the Highway Safety Branch commander, offered a word of caution about braking on snow-covered roads. “Know what kind of brakes your vehicle has and how to use them properly,” he said. “In general, if you have anti-lock brakes, apply firm pressure. If you have non anti-lock brakes, pump the brakes gently. “If you find yourself in a skid, stay calm and ease your foot off the gas while carefully steering in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go. This procedure, known as ‘steering into the skid,’ will bring the back end of your vehicle in line with the front,” he added. The Highway Safety Branch has posted these additional safe driving tips on its Web site: Winter safe driving tips • Be cautious about travel; • Listen for reports of travel advisories issued by the National Weather Service; • Avoid traveling on ice-covered roads if at all possible; • If you must travel, let someone know your destination and when you expect to arrive and ask them to notify authorities if you are late; • Check and restock the winter emergency supplies in your car before you leave; • Never pour water on your windshield to remove ice or snow because shattering may occur; • Never rely on your car to provide sufficient heat because the car may break down. • Always dress warmly; and • Always carry clothing appropriate for winter conditions. What to do if you get stranded Staying in your vehicle when stranded is often the safest choice if winter storms create poor visibility or if roadways are ice-covered. These steps will increase your safety when stranded: • Tie a bright-colored cloth to the antenna as a signal to rescuers; • Move anything you need from the trunk into the passenger area; • Wrap your entire body, including your head, in extra clothing, blankets or newspapers; • Stay awake because you will be less vulnerable to cold-related health problems; • Run the motor (and heater) for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let air in, and make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe — this will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning; • As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to improve your circulation and stay warmer; • Do not eat un-melted snow since it will lower your body temperature. Prepare your vehicle You can avoid many dangerous winter travel problems by planning ahead. Have maintenance service on your vehicle as often as the manufacturer recommends. • Have the radiator system serviced or check the antifreeze level yourself with an antifreeze tester, then add antifreeze as needed; • Replace windshield-wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture; • Replace any worn tires and check the air pressure in the tires; • During winter, keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Winter survival kit for your vehicle Equip your vehicle with these items: • Cell phone and charger; • Blankets; • First-aid kit; • A can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for water); • Windshield scraper; • Booster cables; • Road maps; • Compass; • Tool kit; • Paper towels; • Bag of sand or cat litter (to pour on ice or snow for added traction); • Tire chains (in areas with heavy snow); • Collapsible shovel; • High-calorie canned or dried foods and a can opener; • Flashlight and extra batteries; • Canned compressed air with sealant (for emergency tire repair); and • A brightly-colored cloth. Published in The Messenger 12.16.08

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