Winter Travel Preparations

While no one typically anticipates getting in a car accident, it can happen when least expected and especially when road conditions deteriorate during the winter.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers responded to 125 accidents before 10 a.m. during the last storm on Feb. 2. Some mindful preparation for winter travel is not a bad idea.

A good place to start is with the vehicle itself. Four-wheel drive makes driving on snowy or wet surfaces much easier. Many don’t have a 4WD vehicle so snow tires and/or chains are a wise thing to invest in.

Though they may be costly, they help make snowy travel days much less treacherous and their value will be accounted for when they keep the car from sliding off the road.

Another easy measure to reduce the risk of accident is to simply slow down.

Black ice, which is nearly impossible to see on the road, is a huge cause of accidents, especially when drivers are traveling at speeds faster than appropriate for the conditions.

This might mean the safest speed is slower than the posted speed limit.

Even with taking the propped precautions, accidents can still happen. In the event of an accident or vehicle malfunction, the weather could possibly do more harm than the vehicle itself.

Having survival essentials packed away in the car can protect from the elements and relieve a lot of the stress and trauma of a potential car wreck.

Such essentials can include food and water, blankets and a first-aid kit. Survival kits can be self-assembled or even bought online.

Add cat litter or a bag of pea gravel to that kit. It may come in handy to throw down beneath a set of spun-out tires to gain extra traction.

Other precautionary measures include having secondary travel routes in case of a road closure due to snowfall, weather damage or accident.

Making others aware of travel plans is also a safe practice. Expected routes and departure/arrival times will help rescue and emergency services locate drivers who are overdue or missing.

Above all else, saying “no” to travel on bad weather days might mean the difference between safety and injury, or even life and death.

Story by: Reyce Knutson
Photos by:  Dane Deaner and Erik Mclean on Unsplash