Winter is here, and along with it comes snow and ice in many regions of the country. Make sure you get to your next locum tenens assignment safely by following these winter driving trips from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration
Know Your Car
Every vehicle handles differently; this is particularly true when driving on wet, icy, or snowy roads.
- Before driving a vehicle, clean snow, ice or dirt from the windows, the forward sensors, headlights, tail lights, backup camera and other sensors around the vehicle.
- When driving a rental or company vehicle, become familiar with the vehicle before driving it off the lot. Know the location of the hazard lights switch in case of emergency, and review the owner’s manual so you are prepared for any driving situation that may arise.
Stock Your Vehicle
Carry items in your vehicle to handle common winter driving-related tasks, such as cleaning off your windshield, as well as any supplies you might need in an emergency. Keep the following in your vehicle:
- Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper
- Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow
- Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers
- Blankets for protection from the cold
- A cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly populated areas)
Plan Your Travel and Route
Keep yourself and others safe by planning ahead before you venture out into bad weather.
- Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic.
- Don’t rush; allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely. Plan to leave early if necessary.
- Familiarize yourself with maps and/or GPS directions before you go, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.
On the Road
- Keep your gas tank close to full. If you get stuck in a traffic jam or in snow, you might need more fuel than you anticipated to get home or to keep warm.
- Avoid risky driving behaviors, such as texting and other activities that may distract you while you are driving.
- Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.
- Use caution when navigating around snow plows. Don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside it. Snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently.
In an Emergency
If you are stopped or stalled in wintry weather, follow these safety rules:
- Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself.
- Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light turned on.
- To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm.