Tuesday, February 23, 2010
This year much of our country has experienced snow & ice in considerable quantity - including Florida.
Our nation’s capital was closed for several days as they were unprepared for driving in the deluge of snow. Maybe that was a good thing.....
Some safety organizations and government sources will advise you not to drive at all in bad weather which might seem reasonable in some instances - but certainly impractical in others.
Many people absolutely have to get somewhere for one logical reason or another. It makes sense therefore that you know how to drive in all conditions! Some folks who live/work in snow belt areas already be aware of this, but surprisingly many others still don't.
Here are some “Best Practice” Driving Tips:
· If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is mechanically sound and you have
secured preparations like a survival kit on-board and that you know how to adjust and drive
your vehicle in various road conditions. Snow tires will work far better than all-season tires.
· It's helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you're familiar
with how your car handles. (Police Agencies train officers how to drive in various emergency
conditions - so why shouldn’t you learn as well?)
· Some vehicle owner’s manuals contain tips on how to drive in adverse conditions specific to
your vehicle. Check there as well.
· Consider taking driving courses from professional driving schools that teach EVOC courses for
police/fire/ems if you really want to become proficient.
How to Drive Safely on Icy Roads
· Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three
times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
· Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
· Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
· Keep your lights and windshield clean.
· Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
· Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
· Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze
first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in
shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
· Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely
to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind. (They travel at 35MPH in NY)
· Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive
vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
Handling a REAR Wheel Skid...
· Take your foot off the accelerator.
· Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer
left. If they're sliding right, steer right.
· If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward
that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely
· If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
· If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the
brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.
Handling a FRONT Wheel Skid...
· Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately.
· As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.
If You Get Stuck...
· Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
· Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
· Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
· Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
· Pour sand, cat litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
· Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first — it can damage the transmission on
some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a
light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.
· Carry an emergency “Rescue Strap” in your vehicle – it is designed to pull your vehicle out of
the snow /mud/ditch - make sure you do not use a “Tow Strap” which is only designed for
Adapted and Supplemented from National Safety Council; New York State Department of Motor Vehicles; Washington State Government Information & Services
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
It is always difficult to criticize as an armchair quarterback but the only way others learn sometimes is by example.
This story on Fox News 2-18-10 about a fellow named Jason Pede on a business trip stranded 73 hours on a snowpacked Colorado road because of a wrong turn or bad directions is a good example. We are relieved he made it out alive....let us use his example to help others.
Pede was operating a Lincoln Navigator - A large SUV with plenty of room. He was a professional driver by trade. He was admittedly out of shape and only had high sugar content soda and sugar wafers in his car for food. He was given directions on the road that may have been wrong and his GPS may have provided incorrect directions as well.
Pede was 7 miles away from any assistance when he became stranded and no one knew where he was. His wife lost contact with him as his cell phone battery may have died out or was out of range or both. He got his truck stuck in hood high snow when he tried to turn around.
His decision to not walk out (ok decision actually) was because Mr. Pede was out of shape (not a good decision). He managed to make fire "during the day"which melted his truck panels.
He "survived" by drinking Mountain Dew and eating Sugar Wafers until he ran out of gas for his truck. He then decided to walk out to seek help. Was he lucky?
As we have repeated here for 5 years....knowledge in an emergency is critical. More so than high tech gear.
He admitted now if he knew to only run his vehicle 10 minutes per hour to stay warm he would have conserved fuel and could have stayed in the truck.
Ok. What might YOU have done differently?
Some of these items below may have been in play already. We have detailed these in a training memo last year which is on the website.....
Notified someone (wife in this case) of your new route via cell phone.
Mark Route on paper so contact knows it - and so rescuers can start an effective search
Carried at least one emergency evacuation/survival kit on board.
Flares/Lithium Powered LED FlashLights or Headlamps
Aerial Flares/Rescue Strobe Light (Marine or Military- not toy versions)
Survival Food for 3 days - minimum
Water 2 1/2 gals - not sugar loaded soft drinks
First Aid Kit
Alternate Heat/Cooking Gear - Alcohol Based OK
Survival Candles - Long Duration High Density - Can be used for Cooking /Heat
Sleeping Bag or Mylar Reflective Blankets - 1 per occupant
Spare Warm Clothing Appropriate for Inclement Weather - Hats/Gloves
Portable Shelter (aka Tent/Tarp)
Tire Chains as required by State Law in many instances
Firearm for Protection if licensed
Been in Better Physical Condition
Don't rely on your phone as your only survival tool.
Left an emergency survival manual in this large vehicle.
This would have been an actual bonified good opportunity for using OnStar (GM still knocks those of us who can't afford it and are personally prepared using ICE)
We will add more as we go forward...... He could have stayed put with this gear.
Jason has commented below....and makes a great point! If you have two cars (or more) all cars should be equipped with some basic essentials for survival.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Read the latest about the Medical Emergency App smart-ICE that is taking Smartphones to a new level! You will also be linked from there to sites where you will learn about people having disappointing experiences with all the other "flash in the pan" unsupported applications we warned you about purchasing in the past.....we warned you ....so now you have to repurchase and you wasted all that effort on something hyped as "hot".
Avoid the Hype when it comes to safety ok?
We blogged about support from Emergency Room Nurses Association in the past.....support for ICE just continues to grow.
Get the genuine article - supported, endorsed and tested! smart-ICE!
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Knowing how to save a family member or friend if they are stricken by a heart attack is an important part of your preparedness efforts. Watch the adaptation from the Mayo Clinic that may just save a life. This is the chest compression only version without rescue breathing.
Considering traditional CPR may result in a 1% success rate if done effectively (read perfectly) we think that having this knowledge and applying it can save a life. If you already have had CPR training you can watch this and be able to respond immediately if you witness an event take place.
Always call for assistance from 9/11 or others nearby to help before the "diffusion of responsibility" effect kicks in.....