On the Road
You never know where you will be when an emergency happens and with the number of people on the road each day, there is a possibility that you may be in your vehicle when it does. Consider this when you think of being prepared.
Routine maintenance is important as is preparing your vehicle for the seasons. Check the manual for your vehicle and ensure that you know what your car or truck needs; then keep up on the required service or repairs. In the long run you will save money by increasing fuel efficiency; reducing repair costs due to lack of maintenance; you will also be less likely to find yourself stranded or in an accident.
Living in this part of Ontario we are faced with many different driving conditions, the most difficult of those is during the winter months. This year will be no different than last year or years to come and we should prepare for the snow and the storms. Before heading out ensure you have a safety kit in your vehicle; let someone know where you are going and when you expect to get there. Make sure your vehicle has enough windshield washer in the reservoir and that you keep an extra bottle in the vehicle; during winter months you should make sure it is capable of withstanding -40 degree temperatures. Make sure your tires are sufficient enough to keep you from sliding off the road. Ensure to scrape all of the snow and ice off all of the windows of the vehicle to so you can see not only where you are going but who/what is around you. These are only a couple of suggestions and it is hoped that you take a look at the Ministry of Transportation website for more information on preparing your vehicle, adjusting to winter weather conditions, as well as updated road conditions and closures.
If you must travel during a winter storm, do so during the day and let someone know your route and arrival time; if you have a cell phone, make sure it is charged before heading out. If your car gets stuck in a blizzard or snowstorm, remain calm and stay in your car. Allow fresh air in your car by opening the window slightly on the sheltered side – away from the wind. You can run the car engine about 10 minutes every half-hour if the exhaust system is working well. Beware of exhaust fumes and check the exhaust pipe periodically to make sure it is not blocked with snow. Remember: you can't smell potentially fatal carbon monoxide fumes.
When freezing rain is forecast, avoid driving. Even a small amount of freezing rain can make roads extremely slippery. Wait several hours after freezing rain ends so that road maintenance crews have enough time to spread sand or salt on icy roads.
In the spring or times of heavy rains situations are created where flooding may occur. Remember never drive through flood waters or underpasses, the water may be deeper than it looks and your car could get stuck or swept away by fast water. If you are caught in fast-rising waters and your car stalls, leave it and save yourself and your passengers.
As well, with the warmer temperatures of spring comes the possibility of a tornado. If you are in your car and spot a tornado in the distance pull off the road and where possible stop away from trees, overpasses, power lines and other hazards. If possible, walk into a safe building. If the tornado is close, get out of your car and take cover in a low-lying area away from your vehicle, such as a ditch. Beware of flooding from downpours and be prepared to move.
If your car is going to breakdown it will probably be while you are on the road. Do you have a safety kit for your car? Do you have the tools to fix it yourself? Do you have a charged cell phone and someone to call if you can’t fix it? Remember to be prepared for the unexpected and know what to do when it happens to you.
Traffic accidents could find you stuck on the road for hours before emergency crews allow you through. Are you prepared? Have you considered other people in the vehicle such as children and the elderly; do you have your phone to contact someone and let them know you are ok and will be late? Are you the first one on the scene? Do you know what to do if you witness an accident or are the first responder? Do you have a first aid kit in your car?
Visiting the Ministry of Transportation website – and scrolling down to Driver Safety will help you recognize ways to avoid potental accidents and prepare you for these circumstances.