Navigating wintry weather conditions on the road - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Navigating wintry weather conditions on the road

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON METRO AREA, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Although the snow has stopped falling, the threat of dangerous road conditions is still high.

Capitol Towing Manager Cory Bozeman handed down some tips to help drivers prepare for possible hazardous conditions.

It starts with what you do to your vehicle before getting on the road.

First, make sure you have enough gas.

“In case you do get stranded, the vehicle can continue running until help arrives,” Bozeman said. “It keeps the heater running, your cell phone charging, and anything you might need there.”

Bozeman also advised drivers to make sure their fluids were topped off, especially the anti-freeze.

“Coolant in the engine will freeze up just like water would freeze in your home refrigerator,” Boozeman said. “That can cause damage to the engine mechanically and It will quit running and it’ll strand you and you’ll be cold on the side of the road.”

Along with making sure your windshield wipers are in good condition, you’ll also want to make sure you check for any cracks and the tread on your tires as well as the air pressure, to make sure you don’t have a blowout.

Bozeman said the cold weather can have a negative effect on car batteries, the cold air could drain the battery overnight, causing it to lose power.

“You’ll see corrosion around the connections, Bozeman said. “It kind of looks like a white, powdery substance and also, when the battery starts going bad you’ll notice an odd bitter smell to it and your battery will start swelling up on its own.”

Now that you’ve prepared your vehicle for the road, keep these safety tips in mind while you’re driving to make sure you have a safe commute.

Even if the roads appear to be clear, the threat of danger isn’t necessarily lower, black ice can create dangerous, slippery conditions for drivers on the road and on bridges.

“Try not to jerk the wheel back,” Bozeman said. “Just try to turn the wheels gently and slowly in the direction you’d like the car to go. Do not hit the brakes, do not hit the gas, and hopefully the car will regain traction and control and you’ll be safe and sound.”

Boozeman also suggests drivers slow down and create extra distance between vehicles, to help avoid any crashes.

The American Red Cross also provided the following safety tips to help drivers navigate the roads:

  • Check your vehicle emergency supplies kit and replenish it if necessary.
  • Bring enough of the following for each person:
    • Blankets or sleeping bags
    • Rain gear, extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks, and wool hats
    • Newspapers for insulation
    • Plastic bags for sanitation
    • Canned fruit, nuts, and high energy snacks (Include a non-electric can opener if necessary)
    • Warm broth in a thermos and several bottles of water
    • Keep a cell phone or two-way radio with you. Make sure the battery is charged.
    • Plan to travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person with you.
  • Before leaving, listen to weather reports for your area and the areas you will be passing through, or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions.
  • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your vehicle gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • Be on the lookout for sleet, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and dense fog, which can make driving very hazardous

If You Become Stranded

  • Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters). You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
  • Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
  • Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
  • Do light exercises to keep up circulation. Clap your hands and move your arms and legs occasionally. Try not to stay in one position for too long.
  • If more than one person is in the vehicle, take turns sleeping. If you are not awakened periodically to increase body temperature and circulation, you can freeze to death.
  • Huddle together for warmth. Use newspapers, maps, and even the removable floor mats for added insulation. Layering items will help trap more body heat.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Severe cold can cause numbness, making you unaware of possible danger.
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration, which can make you more susceptible to the ill effects of cold and to heart attacks.
  • Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Shoveling snow or pushing a vehicle can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.

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