Winter Driving Safety – Driving in a Blizzard

Posted by on Dec 12, 2017 in Insurance Advice, and Personal Safety Tips

Winter blizzards can strike at any moment, especially during a Canadian winter. For this reason, you should always be prepared to face those conditions when you are driving and have the necessary items to ensure your safety should you get stranded. Below are a few ways you can prepare for driving in blizzard conditions and tips should you find yourself stranded with your vehicle in a blizzard.

You should always keep an emergency travel kit in your vehicle, but this is especially important during the winter months. Your kit should include some, if not all, of the items below which will be very important should you find yourself stranded:

  • Warm clothes
  • A shovel
  • Blankets
  • A snow brush
  • An ice scraper
  • Booster cables
  • Flashlight
  • Flares
  • Matches
  • Candles
  • Tin cup (to melt snow for water)
  • Food such as granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, or soup mixes that can be added to water

Although you can prepare for blizzards, you can’t prevent them. If you are on the roads when blizzard conditions occur, stop at the nearest town or rest area as long as it is safe to get there and wait until it is safe to get back on the roads. In the case you find yourself stranded with your vehicle, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Remain in your vehicle as it will offer you protection from hard winter conditions and other vehicles driving in the blizzard who may not see you
  • If your vehicle is stuck or you have a medical condition or episode and have a cellular phone and are within service range, call for assistance. If you are not in an urgent situation where you need to be removed from the conditions, listen to the radio or call an appropriate source for a weather update and expected time for the blizzard conditions to end. Unless an emergency, do not call 9-1-1
  • Only if your vehicle’s exhaust pipe is clear of snow and ice, run your engine sporadically to get some heat but be careful not to reduce your fuel level so much that you risk running out altogether. If your exhaust pipe is blocked and you run your engine, fumes will seep into your vehicle and can result in possible carbon monoxide poisoning
  • If your exhaust pipe is blocked, use the blankets, candles and matches you have in your emergency kit for warmth
  • If you need fresh air while waiting in your vehicle, slightly lower the window or windows facing opposite the wind direction and open your vehicle’s heater vent
  • When conditions have improved and it is safe to do so, continue driving and be sure to replenish any emergency kit items you used as soon as possible so you are prepared should you be caught in another blizzard

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