Winter Weather Makes Driving More Difficult

oads are slick and slippery, and falling snow or heavy rain can make it hard to see. And if your car breaks down in bad weather, the situation can get serious. Even though most Disaster Action Kids aren't the ones doing the driving, it's still good for you to know how to be prepared for winter road conditions.

For example, make sure you have the correct supplies in your family car. You should have in your trunk blankets, warm clothing, booster cables and tools, bottled water, canned fruits and nuts, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, flashlight and batteries, traction mats or chains, a shovel and ice scrapers. It's also a good idea to have a colorful scarf or piece of bright cloth to tie to your radio antennae to signal that you need help.

f you are caught in a storm or blizzard and your car becomes stuck, it is important to stay in the car and await rescue. Only leave the car and walk for help if you can see a definite safe-haven - like a house or a school - within a reasonable distance. When you are waiting in your car, turn on the engine for brief periods to provide heat, but always leave a down-wind window open slightly to avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow. Leave the dome light on at night to signal rescuers, and exercise occasionally by clapping hands or moving around.

Natural disasters can play havoc with power lines and telephone poles. Be aware of your changed environment and STAY AWAY from downed power lines whether you are walking or driving.

ometimes severe winter weather is followed by serious flooding. Never try to drive through water on a road. Water can be deeper than it seems and water levels can rise very quickly. A car can be lifted up by floodwaters and float out of control. Wade through floodwaters only if the water is not flowing rapidly and only in water no higher than the knees. If the car stalls in floodwater, get out quickly and move to higher ground (floodwaters may still be rising and the car could be swept away).

Share these driving tips with your family members who drive. They are very important! They could save a life!

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