Friday, September 25, 2009

Safety Seminar #3

Please note: I have been collecting and reviewing vehicle safety tips to help my daughter as she works toward getting her driver's license. The information I share is from my own experience and research. I hope you find these tips useful and as a spark to learn even more about vehicle and driving safety.

Winter Driving
There are many things you can do to prepare for and improve your safety during winter weather. This subject will be presented in several parts. The first topic I'll cover is preparing your car for the winter and making a supply kit for your car.

Prepare your car:
Get a car tune-up concentrating on the following components
1. Tire condition: Check the tread quality. If needed replace or rotate your tires. When in doubt, switch 'em out. The money you invest in your tires is most likely less than repairs/deductibles if you do have an accident. Remember this: Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that actually touches the road (hopefully.) You can have every safety feature ever invented, but if you don't have good tires, what use are they?
2. Brakes and brake pads.
3. Anti-freeze. Not just water, which you might be able to get away with in the summer time.
4. Battery and connections.
5. Windshield wiper fluid with de-icing properties. It won't clear an inch of ice off your windshield, but it can be helpful if your windshield starts to ice up while you drive.
6. Windshield wiper blades. Cold weather can cause the rubber in older wipers to crack, leaving uncleared swaths on your windshield.
Note: This list is not meant to be comprehensive. Please ask your mechanic for guidance.

Prepare for roadside problems:
1. Shovel
2. Ice scraper
3. Brush or broom to clear snow
4. Jumper cables
5. Spare tire and equipment needed to change a flat tire. You might need this if you slide into a curb and "pop" a tire. Consider purchasing a "full-sized" tire rather than the usual "donut" spare tire. If the weather was bad enough to cause a problem with one of your tires, a small spare tire could be even worse.
6. Bag of salt, gravel, or kitty litter.
7. Warning flares, reflective markers, bright cloth or ribbons
8. Flashlight with spare batteries

Prepare a survival kit.
If you become stranded, these are some items you might need:
1. Water and/or nutrient drinks like Gatorade
2. Snack/energy bars
3. Vital medications if you have a condition that requires a constant blood level, such as insulin or aspirin. Accidents are very stressful and can exacerbate existing conditions like heart disease or diabetes.
4. Warm blankets. (Store these in a water-proof bag.)
5. Extra hats, gloves, scarves, socks and boots. It is important to change out of wet socks/shoes to prevent frostbite.
6. First aid kit. You'll need this if someone has been injured.

Prepare for accidents:
(Prevent accidents by avoiding driving in hazardous conditions, if at all possible. Check your local news for road closures and worsening weather.)
1. Disposable camera to document damage and surrounding elements like icy streets that could have contributed to the accident.
2. Current insurance card
3. Keep a credit card in your wallet that is just for emergencies. You'll most likely need one to pay for towing and other expenses that require "up-front" payment.
4. Paper and a pen to jot down information like drivers involved in the accident, witnesses, and police case numbers.
5. Safety items to mark your car (see Cold Weather Necessities)
6. Fully charge your cell phone before leaving the house.
7. Add contact numbers to your cell phone
a. Insurance agent
b. Towing company covered by your insurance
c. Repair shop covered by your insurance
d. Hospital or Urgent Care facility covered by your insurance
e. Your doctor
f. Work number in case the accident should delay or prevent you from going to work
g. Your children's school phone numbers
h. Someone who will be able to contact loved ones
i. Someone who will be able to pick up your children from school if you're delayed. (It's good to have at least two contact numbers, just in case you can't reach the first.)
j. A trusted neighbor who could meet your children at the bus stop if needed.

I hope this list helps you to prepare for emergencies. If you have any hint or tips to contribute, please leave a comment. And remember: Buckle Up!


1 comment:

Just A Mom (Call me JAM for short) said...

Stopping by from MOTNET to say hello! Love this list. My son is 13 so I've got a couple more years before I've got to start worrying. But I know it's going to be here before I know it!

I'm grabbing your button too!