Safety awareness shouldn’t end as soon as you step off the job site. As many Matrix employees make their way home for the holidays, we want to ensure that everyone drives safely.
Here are 4 things you can do to keep yourself safe on slippery winter roads:
Check Your Vehicle
Before you set out, make sure your vehicle is in good condition. Especially if you are driving outside the city, you want to reduce your chances of having car trouble. Check your brakes, electrical system, tires, exhaust system, heating/cooling system, fuel levels and windshield wipers. By keeping your vehicle in good repair you can avoid technical troubles on the road and are better prepared if you do run into any problems.
Pack a Winter Driving Kit
Ensure you have a well stocked winter driving kit so you are prepared for all situations. Make sure your kit includes:
Properly fitted tire chains
A bag of salt, sand or kitty litter
A snow shovel
A snow brush and ice scraper
Warning devices such as a reflective cone, flares or emergency lights
Fuel line de-icer (methanol, also called methyl hydrate or methyl alcohol)
Extra windshield wiper fluid that is good for sub-zero temperatures
A flashlight and spare batteries
A warm blanket, preferably wool (wool will still keep you warm even if it is wet)
An extra set of warm clothes. Make sure you have a complete set including socks and underwear
A first aid kit
Emergency food like granola bars and water
Matches and emergency candles (use only with the window open to avoid carbon monoxide build up)
A paper road map
A charged cellphone (do not leave it in the car or the battery will freeze)
A bright ribbon or bandana
Prepare For Your Trip
Being adequately prepared is the best way to keep yourself safe while driving, especially in winter. To help ensure your trip goes safely:
Make sure you are well prepared before you hit the road.
If you are driving outside the city limits make sure you let someone know what route you plan to take as well as your departure and arrival times. This way if you get stranded someone knows that you should have arrived by now and can sound the alarm.
Be sure to wear warm, comfortable clothing for your trip and wear sunglasses if it is sunny out.
Warm up your vehicle before driving off, so you can avoid fogging up your windows. Never warm up your vehicle in a closed garage or you may be exposed to deadly carbon monoxide.
Drive With Caution
Driving in wet or icy conditions is very different than driving on dry pavement. To help you drive safely remember:
Slow down. Speed limits are calculated under ideal road conditions. Driving at slower speeds is the best way to drive safe and avoid dangerous situations.
Be alert. Black ice will look like new asphalt. Pavement should look grey-white in winter.
Do not use cruise control. You need to be in full control of the vehicle at all times.
Further reduce your speed when approaching intersections covered in ice or snow.
Drive with your low beams on, even during the day. These are brighter than your running lights and also activate your tail lights, making you more visible.
Increase your following distance since stopping on an icy road takes longer than stopping on a dry one.
Steer with smooth, precise movements. Changing lanes too quickly or aggressive steering while braking or accelerating can cause your vehicle to skid.
Slow down when approaching and crossing bridges. Steel and concrete bridges are often icy, even if the pavement is not.
If the weather worsens consider pulling off to the side of the road or at a town or rest stop rather than continuing. If you do pull over call the person you gave your departure, arrival and route information to and let them know you have pulled off to the side of the road and at least approximately where you are.
Be patient. Pass other cars only when it is safe to do so.