Winter driving is no joke, especially in Minnesota and Wisconsin. No matter how much you prepare your car, adjust your driving habits, or only drive when necessary, accidents can still happen. If you do find yourself stranded on the side of the road, keep the following tips in mind.
How to Handle a Winter Driving Emergency
If necessary, call 911 on your cell phone. Give your location, condition of everyone in the vehicle, and the problems you’re experiencing. Follow the operator’s instructions. They might tell you to stay where you are until help arrives. Don’t hang up the phone until you know who you have spoken with and what will happen next.
What to Do if You Get Stuck
Tie a fluorescent flag (from your kit) on your antenna or hang it out the window. At night, keep your dome light on. Rescue crews can see a small glow at a distance. Avoid battery drainage by using your hazards only if another vehicle approaches. If someone else is with you, make sure at least one of you is awake and keeping an eye out for help at all times.
Stay in your vehicle. Walking in a winter storm can be very dangerous. Visibility is severely reduced, making it much easier to get lost. Your vehicle is generally the best shelter available to you in a situation like this – stick with it.
Avoid overexertion. Shoveling snow or pushing your car takes a lot of effort in storm conditions, which can make you hot and sweaty. Wet clothing loses insulation value, making you susceptible to hypothermia.
Make sure you’re getting fresh air. It’s better to be cold and awake than warm and sleepy. Snow can plug your vehicle’s exhaust system and cause carbon monoxide gas to enter your car. Only run the engine for 10 minutes an hour and make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow. Keeping a window open a crack while running the engine is also a good idea.
Stay positive. They say attitude is everything, and that holds doubly true here. With the proper tools and a cool head, you’ll have no trouble getting yourself out of a snowy situation.
At Morrie’s, we’re here to help. Visit any Morrie’s location for a free Winter Ready Inspection. If the worst happens, our body shops are ready to help get you back up and running. Stay safe out there.