Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Preparing for Winter

I was following a vehicle the other day while on patrol.  All of a sudden the right rear tire of the car blew out causing the vehicle to swerve back and forth in the roadway.  The driver was able to  bring the vehicle back under control and then slowly pull to the berm.  I pulled in behind to check if the driver needed assistance.  She was obviously a little jittery after nearly crashing her car.  I asked her if she had the tools needed to change a tire.  She did not know if the tire changing tools were in the car or where they were located. 

I was able to locate the equipment and change the tire.  I asked the driver if she knew how to change a tire.  She did not.  I then asked her to pay attention and showed her the process of changing the tire.  How to use the jack, how to make sure the emergency brake was on, how to break the lug nuts free, and then how to put the tire on and secure it back with the lug nuts. 

She said thank you and hurried off to her child's soccer game.  It occurred to me that many drivers do not know how to take care of the basic needs of traveling.  I hope that most men are capable of changing a tire.  I know that a lot of woman are also able to take on the challenge.  We are entering the rough driving season and I thought it would be good idea to review the basics of safe traveling during the winter months.

Things to do.

Get your vehicle serviced.  Top off all fluids.
Check your tires for wear
Make sure you know how to use the tire changing equipment
Make sure you have a spare
Either buy or put together a vehicle emergency kit
     Flares                   Jumper Cables
     Blanket                 Flashlight
     Air Pump              Duck Tape
     Hand warmers      WD-40
     First Aid kit          Extra Fuses
     Bottled Water       Small Shovel
     Energy Bars

You can add to this list based upon your needs.  If you have kids you may want to include a few games for entertainment. 

Remember that if you get stuck in the snow you will have to make sure the tail pipe is free from obstruction.  If not, the CO2 will seep into the car.  If you think you will be stuck for a long time, ration the gas by turning the engine on, as needed.  Get everyone together and use body heat to keep everyone warm. 

There are a lot of things that can happen on the road.  You can't prepare for everything.  If you take the time to prepare for winter by adding a few emergency supplies you may just get through a tough situation.

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