Every year, nearly 900 people are killed and nearly 76,000 people are injured in vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet. Each year, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on the snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet.
Terrifying car accidents in wintry weather such as blinding squalls have killed nearly 4,000 Americans over the past five years, a new survey found. Survivors recount scary tales of cars and trucks flying like huge missiles around them. While we usually think of tornadoes or floods as the deadliest weather hazards, car accidents kill more Americans each year than any other weather danger. And winter weather can create especially deadly risks for drivers.
Slippery or snow-covered roads, reduced visibility, and bitter cold: these are all conditions that can make driving difficult and even dangerous during cold weather months. Winter also brings an increased risk of getting stuck in your car, so dress warmly before heading out.
INSPECT YOUR VEHICLE SYSTEMS:
- Brakes: Brakes should provide even and balanced braking. Also check that brake fluid is at the proper level.
- Cooling System: Ensure a proper mixture of 50/50 antifreeze and water in the cooling system at the proper level.
- Electrical System: Check the ignition system and make sure that the battery is fully charged and that the connections are clean. Check that the alternator belt is in good condition with proper tension.
- Engine: Inspect all engine systems.
- Exhaust System: Check exhaust for leaks and that all clamps and hangers are snug.
- Tires: Check for proper tread depth and no signs of damage or uneven wear. Check for proper tire inflation.
- Oil: Check that oil is at the proper level.
- Visibility Systems: Inspect all exterior lights, defrosters (windshield and rear window), and wipers. Install winter windshield wipers.
PREPARE AN EMERGENCY CAR KIT
Always have winter safety and emergency equipment in your car. A basic car kit should contain the following:
- Food that won't spoil, such as energy bars
- Water—plastic bottles that won't break if the water freezes (replace them every six months)
- Extra clothing and shoes or boots
- First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
- Small shovel, scraper, and snow brush
- Candle in a deep can and matches
- Wind‑up flashlight
- Whistle—in case you need to attract attention
- Copy of your emergency plan
ITEMS TO KEEP IN YOUR TRUNK:
- Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
- Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
- Tow Rope
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher
- Warning light or road flares
- Be easy to find: Tell someone where you are going and the route you will take.
- If stuck: Tie a fluorescent flag (from your kit) on your antenna or hang it out the window. At night, keep your dome light on. Rescue crews can see a small glow at a distance. To reduce battery drain, use emergency flashers only if you hear approaching vehicles. If you're with someone else, make sure at least one person is awake and keeping watch for help at all times.
- Stay in your vehicle: Walking in a storm can be very dangerous. You might become lost or exhausted. Your vehicle is a good shelter.
- Avoid Overexertion: Shoveling snow or pushing your car takes a lot of effort in storm conditions. Don't risk a heart attack or injury. That work can also make you hot and sweaty. Wet clothing loses insulation value, making you susceptible to hypothermia.
- Fresh Air: It's better to be cold and awake than comfortably warm and sleepy. Snow can plug your vehicle's exhaust system and cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter your car. Only run the engine for 10 minutes an hour and make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow. Keeping a window open a crack while running the engine is also a good idea.
- Don't expect to be comfortable: You want to survive until you're found.
Be safe and spread the word........... Isabel