NORFOLK, Virginia –
It’s that time of year when many begin to imagine the delicious smells of pumpkin pie, turkey and stuffing. Some have already begun the thoughtful prep work in anticipation of preparing the perfect meal for their loved ones this Thanksgiving. As we anticipate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Naval Security Command reminds anyone planning to hit the road over the long weekend to be diligent and plan accordingly ahead of their trip, regardless of distance. or the destination.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), there were 440 fatal crashes and approximately 33,000 injury crashes in winter conditions in 2019. Additionally, around 182,000 police-reported crashes also occurred in winter conditions. freezing conditions. If you live or travel in an area with snow, sleet and ice, use the three Ps to minimize your risk on the road: prepare for the trip; Protect yourself and avoid accidents on the road.
Here are some tips to help you prepare your vehicle for possible winter weather conditions.
- Check your vehicle’s headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights. Check your trailer’s brake lights and turn signals, if necessary.
- You can quickly go through a lot of washer fluid in a single snowstorm. Fill your vehicle’s tank with a winter mix before cold weather arrives. Make sure defrosters and windshield wipers are working and replace worn blades. Consider installing heavy-duty winter windshield wipers if you live in an area with lots of snow and ice.
- Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle and that it meets manufacturer specifications. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for recommendations. Check the cooling system for leaks, test the coolant, and drain and replace the old coolant.
- A specific consideration for electric and hybrid-electric vehicles is that lower temperatures can increase battery consumption. Generally, lithium-ion batteries have reduced energy at lower temperatures. Also, most vehicles will use the battery to self-heat at low temperatures. Battery drain from heating can be minimized by keeping your electric car as warm as possible during freezing temperatures. A common way to do this is to plug your vehicle in at night during the winter, keeping the battery temperature within its optimum range. For those with gas-powered cars, it’s ideal to keep gas tanks nearly full as much as possible.
Good preparation includes thoughtful planning. Plan your route using local weather and traffic reports before you set off. If the roads are not in good condition, consider postponing non-essential travel until the roads are clear. Your loved ones can keep your plate warm and understand that your safety comes first.
Protect yourself. If you must go out, make sure you are prepared for any extended delays. If inclement weather is forecast, consider changing your departure time to avoid being on the road during the height of the storm and ensure you are prepared for any extended delays.
Even those who are prepared or accustomed to driving in snow-prone regions can suddenly find themselves stuck or stranded in winter weather, so be sure to carry items in your vehicle to handle everyday winter-related driving tasks. and supplies you may need in an emergency. . Recommended items include: snow shovel, broom, ice scraper; abrasive material (sand or kitty litter) in case your vehicle gets stuck in snow; jumper cables, flashlights and warning devices (emergency flares and beacons); blankets for protection against the cold; cell phone and car charger, water, food and any necessary medication.
Prevent and minimize the likelihood of an accident by ensuring you are physically and mentally fit during your ride. On long trips, allow plenty of time to stop to stretch, eat something, check your phone and change drivers, and rest if you feel drowsy. While driving, increase your following distance enough so that you have enough time to stop for vehicles in front of you. Snow plows move slowly, make wide turns and stop frequently, overlap lanes and run off the road, so don’t overload a snow plow or travel alongside it. If you are behind a plow, keep a safe distance and be careful if you pass the plow.
These tips can help you reach your destinations safely and not be a dangerous turkey on winter roads this winter.
For more information on winter driving, visit NHTSA and view additional resources such as NAVSAFECOM’s Fall and Winter Safety Brief here.
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