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  • Patty Hood

Winter Driving Tips for Colorado

cars driving down highway in winter conditions

Winter is here. Snow is falling and the holidays are upon us. As we head into the holidays we often become overwhelmed with obligations, commitments and family duties more than ever. Adding to the stress is the weather which can be unpredictable, the roads slick and dangerous. As an insurance agent I see far too many accidents that occur because of being rushed or distracted.

Here are a few tips for staying safe and peaceful during the winter months and holiday season.

First: Slow down…I mean really, really slow down. This means slowing down more than just your vehicle. Slow down the obligations, slow down the commitments, and slow down the expectation that you have to do it all. I realize this seems counter intuitive but it will serve you and your loved ones well during this busy time. Take a few moments and take a few deep breaths. Allowing yourself to become still for just a few short moments can provide calm and clarity and the ability to focus more on the present. I realize this sounds like its coming from a meditation teacher and not an insurance agent but this one tip can have a huge impact on your attitude and the safety of your loved ones and others on the road.

Second: Put your phone away while you’re driving. There are countless accidents daily that are completely preventable. I can’t stress this enough. I have known wonderful people who have caused serious injuries to others because they were texting. It happens more than you think. Driving and texting is dangerous. Bad roads and texting is an even more dangerous combination. Your children are watching you and they are your passengers so please set the right example for them. After all, you are their mentor, teacher and primary care giver. Teach them well and keep them safe. Just don’t text while driving, just don’t do it.

Third: Stock your car with an emergency kit that includes: Bottles of water, long lasting snacks, basic first aid kit, Ice scraper, Shovel, flashlight, cell phone charger, roadside triangles, hand warmers, battery cables, tow strap, extra blanket, hats, gloves, a small amount of any medications that you are taking. Keep your gas tank at least half full. If traveling long distances, this can make a huge difference if you are in an accident in cold weather or stuck in traffic for several hours.

Most of these items are in your home. If you have children involve them in collecting most of these items and putting them in a backpack or box for the car. Children love being involved in these activities. This is the holiday season so perhaps building several of these kits as gifts for family and friends would make a terrific and thoughtful gift.

Fourth: If involved in an accident try your best to stay calm. It is easy to panic immediately after an accident. Stay as calm as possible. Assess injuries before taking any action. If everyone is safe the decision becomes one of staying or exiting your vehicle. If the vehicle is in a position of being hit by another motorist, sometimes the hard decision of leaving the vehicle becomes necessary. If you must exit your vehicle, make sure there are no other hazards near by. Exit quickly and find a safe place to stay till help arrives. Call to report your accident to authorities. If the weather is hazardous, it may take several hours to get assistance.

If the weather is hazardous and staying in your vehicle is an option, stay there where it is dry and warm. If you must run your vehicle for heat, make sure the tail pipe is clear to vent properly. If necessary, using caution exit the car and remove the snow from the tail pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Turn on flashers and headlamps to help emergency worker locate your vehicle.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of tips but will assist you in the event of an emergency,you How many of us have sat on Vail Pass for several hours for the road to be reopened?

Be safe, and well this holiday season.

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