Over the River and Through the Woods in Connecticut…

Millions of Americans will do some traveling this holiday season, with the majority of it by car. Of course, winter weather creates a unique set of challenges on the roadways, whether you’re simply driving around Connecticut or headed out of state.

Here at the Warwick Agency, we hope that you enjoy your holiday and, much more importantly, stay safe so you’ll be around for many holidays to come. As such, we’ve put together a list of winter-travel safety tips.

Prepare Your Car for Winter

winter-travel safety tipsBefore leaving on your trip, be sure to give your car a thorough check-up. Do wipers need to be replaced? Are your fluid levels where they should be? Are your tires in good shape for driving on wet or snowy roads?

You should also be sure your radiator and cooling systems are up to snuff. And – I’m sure we’ve suggested this before – your car should have an emergency kit.

Pack your emergency car kit with jumper cables, blankets, a first-aid kit, flares, food and water, a flashlight, and other safety gear. Keeping a shovel and cat litter or sand (to provide traction should you get stuck in snow or ice) are good ideas as well, even when you aren’t taking a long trip.

Before You Leave

Know exactly where you’re going. Make sure that you have printed maps (never just rely on GPS!) and check weather conditions along your planned route. Let someone know your itinerary, so if you don’t arrive on time, officials know where to look for you.

If your car has snow or ice on it, make sure it’s completely cleared off before you leave. (Remember: It’s state law in Connecticut). Don’t forget to clear your headlights and other lights.

When You’re on the Road

Are roads snowy or icy? Take it slow. Take it slow. Take it slow.

We can’t repeat this enough because, in poor conditions, it could make the difference between life and death. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination, and make sure you leave extra room between your vehicle and others on the road.

Watch for ice patches on bridges, overpasses, and shady spots. Keep in mind that four-wheel or all-wheel drive does not mean your car will stop or steer better on ice.

If you’re caught in a storm that seems like it’s too much for you to handle, seek refuge as soon as you can. Of course, sometimes it’s best not to drive in snow and ice at all, and you should stay home if you can.

If Your Vehicle Becomes Disabled

Nobody wants to think about being stranded on the side of the road in a storm, but it happens to thousands of people each year. If your vehicle is disabled, be sure to stay with it. Run your engine and heater for short intervals and open one of your windows slightly to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.

Light two flares (remember that vehicle emergency kit? Now’s the time to use it) and place them a safe distance from both the front and rear of your vehicle. Note your location with mileposts, exit numbers, or cross-streets, so that when you call the authorities or a tow truck, they’ll know how to find you.

We hope you enjoy your holidays with friends and family, and look forward to serving you throughout the rest of the year and into the next. If you do have any car insurance questions before that big trip, be sure to give us a call today at (203) 775-2564 (because who knows what will happen tomorrow!)

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