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When you are on the road, even the best laid plans can be thwarted by mother nature. In the first part of this series, we learned about cold weather-related issues that involve your car and the road. In this section, we’ll go over what to do when emergencies occur on the road.  

Know How to Handle Emergencies
Winter requires a whole new set of driving know-how to get you safely from Point A to Point B. Losing control of your car in slippery weather can be scary but knowing what to do beforehand can minimize your chance of injuring anyone. First, if you start to slide or spin, keep calm. So long as you’ve been following the previously mentioned advice of traveling slowly with plenty of distance between you and other cars, you have plenty of time and space to work with and get yourself back on track.  Gradually turn in the direction you wanted to maintain and release the brakes so that the tires have a chance to regain traction. Slamming on the brake will work counterintuitively and worsen the slide, as your tires won’t be able to grip on the icy surface. If you’re driving a front-wheel drive car, tapping the acceleration can help move the direction your tires are facing. It’s harrowing, but you’ll recover and you can continue on at your comfort when the adrenaline wears off.

Getting Stuck
Winter time means being prepared ahead of time, and you may want to store a spare shovel in your trunk to make freeing your car a little easier. Some kitty litter or sand sprinkled in front of and behind the stuck tires can also give you some traction assistance. If you can’t get out and need to wait for help, your car should be stocked with an emergency kit. Helpful items include blankets, hand warmers, extra warm wear, nonperishable snack items, and a flashlight with extra batteries. You don’t know how long you may need to wait, so it’s advised not to run your engine the entire time. Start your car in 10 minute intervals every hour is more meant to turn over the alternator enough so the vehicle’s battery doesn’t run out.  Budget your gas throughout this time period according to your comforts, and East Hills Subaru (Roslyn, NY), suggests to make sure your tailpipe remains clear so as to prevent exhaust from entering your vehicle.

Be Careful Out There
Now you have all the know-how and experience to most safely head out into the slippery roads!  Everyone struggles a little bit in the winter weather; pay it forward and help out when you can to keep everyone moving to their destination. Travel slow, travel smart and travel safe!

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.