How to Drive Through a Blizzard

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A wintertime disaster can shut down a whole city. A blizzard warning means to expect sustained winds of 35 mph or more with large amount of falling or blowing snow that is expected to last for several hours. It is advisable to sit a blizzard out but if you must drive, here are some useful tips to remember.

Things You'll Need

  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield scraper
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Bottled water
  • Extra warm clothes
  • Shovel
  • Bright colored cloth
  • Cell phone
  • Map
  • Sack of sand

Before Driving

  • Make sure the tires have adequate tread. Vehicles with all-wheel drive are appropriate for driving in a blizzard. Check the brakes, battery and exhaust system for good working condition. Replace worn out wiper blades, fill washer reservoir with antifreeze solution and ensure you have a windshield scraper.

  • Call state highway patrol to check on road conditions. Ensure you know what you are getting into.

  • Prepare a winter car kit supplied with flashlights, extra batteries, bottled water, medicines, extra warm clothes, shovel and bright colored cloth to use as a flag.

While Driving

  • Drive during the day. Keep others informed of your schedule and have your cell phone charged. Try to drive with someone along.

  • Assess the direction and distance you are traveling using road maps before starting out. Heavy snowfall creates low visibility making it difficult to read road signs. Stay on the main roads.

  • Keep your headlights on all the time. Visibility and distance is distorted by falling snow. Operate the wipers during the drive and clear the windshield of snow manually if necessary.

  • Slow down over bridges and overpasses as the chilling air builds ice quicker on a bridge than on the roads. Double the four second rule to maintain additional stopping distance between cars while driving.

  • Counterbalance a skid during a blizzard by turning the steering wheel of the vehicle in the same direction as the back wheels are skidding. If they skid to the right, turn your wheel to the right.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid spinning your wheels if your car is lodged in snow. Manually remove the snow from the tires and pour sand beneath the wheels to apply traction.
  • Avoid back roads.

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