So you're going to be driving over the next few days. As I write the roads are getting icy, but it will be 53 degrees on Christmas Day. If I don't start a riot due to the stupid weather, I will also be driving. I would appreciate it if you wouldn't kill me while I drive by doing something stupid. So listen up, here's how you can stay on my good side. Insurance companies and the Red Cross have offered you some friendly tips that could save my live...alright, yours too, I guess.
Winter-proof your vehicle:
Get your vehicle checked by a mechanic and pay extra attention to the battery, tire pressure, heater, defroster, wiper blades and washer fluid.
Carry a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle at all times with basics like non-perishable food, water, a battery-operated radio, flashlight, first aid kit, emergency flares, and jumper cables.
Make sure your kit includes winter items like a shovel, windshield scraper, blankets, and sand or cat litter for tire traction.
Try to keep your gas tank as close to full as possible in case of an emergency and to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
You got this part. The kit is important. In addition to using it for traction, the sand can be melted into glass and shaped into a magnifying glass for use in starting fires. The cat litter can also be used by your family and yourself if you get stuck in a snow bank and can't find a place to use the bathroom.
Before you travel:
Let your family or friends know your destination, your primary and alternate route, when you plan on leaving and when you expect to arrive. If your vehicle gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
Pay attention to the weather forecast. Your local TV and radio stations can provide updated storm information that can help you avoid treacherous weather.
Motorists should also be cautious about animals on the highway.
You should do this every time you travel. If we've learned anything from bad horror flicks, we know that it's always those people who don't have anyone looking for them that are dragged out into the woods and violated by serial killers. If you let your mom know where and when you'll be traveling she can call the cops before your handcuffed to a tree in your boxers.
If you are stranded:
Stay with your vehicle and don’t attempt to walk to safety. It’s easy to become disoriented in wind-driven snow and exposure increases your risk of developing hypothermia and frostbite.
As you sit, exercise your arms and legs to maintain body heat.
Use the heater for 10 minutes every hour and leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so you can be seen. Open the window a crack for fresh air and to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Keep the exhaust pipe clear from snow and ice so fumes won't back up in the vehicle.
Make it easier for rescuers to find you by tying a brightly colored cloth to the antennae.
After the snow has subsided, raise your vehicle hood to indicate you need help.
In the theme of horror movies, have you ever seen a stranded motorist do all of these things in a movie? Have you? No, you haven't. And that's why those people always die. Do you want to die? I don't. Get yourself a bright colored cloth, and stay in your car. It's always the guy who decides to go for help that ends up having to chew off his own leg to free himself from a fallen boulder.
While driving, use these tips:
-Use your turn signal. Letting other drivers know where you are heading avoids crashes.
Seriously, the lever is there for a reason, people. Operating it is not that complicated. You can blow your Christmas bonus pulling the arm of a slot machine at Argosy, but you can't tell me if you're going left. Get your act together.
-Stay calm. Don't compound another driver's foolish driving maneuver by making your own. Don't overreact to events that can lead to road rage.
Basically, don't be an asshole. Use that hand to operate your turn signal instead flipping off that old lady.
-Know where you are going. And, if you do make a wrong turn, just keep going. More often than not, you can return to the correct road pretty quickly and do it without endangering others.
-Maintain your car. Check all fluid levels, change the oil if it's due, clean the car's windshield, windows and headlights, make sure your lights and directionals are working properly, check the tire tread and air pressure.
What worse than getting in a car wreck? Getting rammed into by car that doesn't look any different after it happened. Yes, I want your insurance information, just because the collision only knocked some rust off your car doesn't mean that my trunk isn't a foot shorter.
-Sleep. Rest can be your best defensive driving weapon. Long hours behind the wheel, particularly at night, make you drowsy, less alert to danger and increase your response time.
Unless you're hauling steel to California, get a good night's rest. Just because your grandpa was a truck driver doesn't mean driving through the night to Florida is "in your genes."
-Stop multi-tasking. Eating, reading, and talking on a cell phone (even hands-free) while driving are distracting.
Merging into my lane is more important than your Suduko game. If I'm being nice enough to let you in, the least you can do is pause Shrek and pay attention.
-Never drink and drive. And, be alert for drivers who may not be as safe as you.
I don't have a smart ass remark for this one. If your drinking and driving, you should consider rehab. If you see someone weaving call 1-800-GRAB-DUI (1-800-472-2384).
-Get an emergency kit. A first aid kit should minimally include bandages, tape, wash & dry cloth and a topical antiseptic. A car kit should include oil, anti-freeze, transmission and brake fluids, basic tools, signal flare, flashlight (with fully charged batteries) and duct tape.
This kit is WAY better than the other one. You can use the duct tape to protect yourself from chemical terrorist attacks, and I'm pretty sure the car fluids they tell you to carry resemble the recipe for meth.
All joking aside, be safe out there. Even a minor car accident will really screw up your vacation, be safe, you'll get there eventually.