(Part 2 of a 3-Part Series)
No matter which way you choose to travel this holiday season, you would be wise to take advance precautions to guarantee that your family and friends are safe in the air, on the road, on the rails. After all; winter and holiday travel are stressful propositions. Not only is traffic at an all-time high but the vast majority of people and pets get edgy and tempers flare with crowded parking lots and long lines.
Last week, we covered the ways to travel safely by air. This week, we’ll focus on tips for easing road trips. Tune in again next week when we will cover one more way to travel safely during the holidays. At RJWestmore, Inc., we want you to travel safely this holiday season.
Road worthy travel
For road warriors, winter can be a dangerous time of year. Winter is also a little scary for those of us who use the restroom outside. But I digress. The NTSB attributes 22% of all motor vehicle accidents to severe weather, such as ice and snow. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, a motor vehicle accident occurs every 60 seconds. In fact, annually, 5.25 million driving accidents occur…which amounts to 11,550,000 weather-related accidents per year. Since these are scary figures, we hope the following winter driving tips will help you stay safe and a little less anxious on this year’s holiday road trip.
- Get your car checked out before you leave. This is crucial. Drive your car to a reputable auto shop for a quick once-over, making sure your mechanic checks the tires, oil pressure, fluid levels and other mechanical systems.
- Be prepared for a change in course. Before you depart, spend a long time concentrating on the best route as well as secondary options. Make sure you’re ready for anything on that could alter your plans, including construction, road closings, accidents, traffic hurdles and weather-related messes. Keep local maps on hand in case you need to reroute your trip and don’t have GPS or an adequately-equipped Smartphone. If you belong to an automotive club, get someone’s help to plan the perfect winter getaway.
- Stay hydrated. Although the likelihood of dehydration may seem far-fetched, consider the possibility that you could become stranded. The phenomenon is common, in fact, on windy mountain roads where rocks fall and accidents can cause long delays. A recent study by doctors at the Mayo Clinic showed that a mere one- to two-percent loss of body weight can lead to fatigue and sleepiness, all of which can be deadly conditions when traversing icy winter roadways. Also, your body requires more fuel in the cold. So in addition to bringing plenty of water bottles, stock up on high-energy foods like sandwiches, a thermos filled with soup, fresh fruit and sliced raw vegetables. And don’t forget to bring some beef jerky! If you prefer to hoof it, like my family and me, make sure you drink plenty of water before you leave.
- Pack a winter safety kit for the car. Don’t leave home without the essentials for a safe road trip. In addition to your regular “Go Bag,” you should bring extra supplies for long road trips. Don’t forget:
- Cell phone (and car charger)
- Ice scraper
- Tow rope
- Jumper cables
- Snow chains
- Sand or cat litter for traction control on ice
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Matches and emergency candles
- First aid kit
- Portable radio (either hand-crank or battery-powered, as long as you pack extra batteries!)
- Dog bowls, treats, pet medication and dog food (Or just bring extra steak.)
- For a comprehensive list of items to include in your Emergency Kit, check out some of our previous posts about how to build a Go Bag.
- Take plenty of pit stops. Winter driving leads to fatigue. Make sure you take time to stretch your legs. Just a few minutes off the road will improve your alertness. I’ve always been a fan of pit stops. You could stop at every single rest stop because there is always a lot of great stuff to sniff.
- Stay alert. Even if you’re well-rested and attentive on the road, you will likely be traveling near other people who partied too hard during the holidays or didn’t get enough sleep. So, the wisest thing you can do while you drive is pay attention and drive defensively. If you think you’ll need to drink a gallon of coffee to stay awake, maybe you should consider stopping at a hotel instead of driving on. It could save your life.
When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJWestmore, Inc. Our new Version 3.0 system offers the best emergency training system.