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Friday, November 4, 2011

Prepare for Winter Driving Season

I hope everyone has enjoyed our recent mild weather. Sooner, rather than later, we will get to experience winter driving conditions. With the upcoming holidays and the travel associated with them, it may be a good idea to be ready for the changes in driving conditions. Here are some reminders as you prepare for the winter driving season.

Check the battery and ignition system to assure proper starting capability. Clean and identify the "+" and "--" battery terminals. Do you know how to hook up jumper cables?

Check the wipers, defroster, windshield washer fluid, and lights, including the hazard warning lights.

Check the exhaust system, heater, brakes, and change the oil to a winter grade oil (SAE 10W/30 or 5W/30 weight).

Check tires for adequate tread (no less than 2/32 inch, which is bare minimum). New all-season or "snow tires" are recommended.

Tips for winter traveling:

Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.

Remove all snow and ice from windows, headlights, and taillights before you drive.

Plan long trips carefully. Listen to the radio, call the state highway patrol at 1-800-288-1047 or their 511 number, or check the Internet for the latest road conditions at www.iowaroadconditions.org/

If possible, travel during daylight.

Keep these items in your car:

* Windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal

* Flashlights with extra batteries

* First aid kit with pocket knife

* Necessary medications

* Blankets or sleeping bags

* Plastic bags (for sanitation)

exercises to keep up circulation and watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Lastly, avoid overexertion.

Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart and if you aren't used to the physical exercise of shoveling snow or pushing a car, these activities * Matches

* Extra set of mittens, socks, and a wool cap

* Small shovel

* Small tools -- pliers, screwdriver, etc.

* Booster cables

* Traction mats and a small bag of sand for generating traction under wheels

* Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag

*Supply of high-energy bars and bottles of water

If you are caught in a blizzard, do you have a cell phone to call for help? If not, stay in your car. You may get lost walking in blowing and/or drifting snow. Hang that brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna as a "trouble" sign. Run the vehicle's engine for about 10 minutes each hour with the heater and dome light on.

Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning and keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation. Do moderate can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. So be good to yourself and know your limitations.

Someone will come to the rescue and find you!