October 21-27 is Winter Weather Awareness Week in Colorado. While snow is not yet on the ground in many places, now is a good time to get ready for the winter season. A first step in preparing for winter weather is to make sure your vehicle is ready to go. When heading out on winter roads, it is a good idea to first check http://cotrip.org or call 511 to receive an update on the latest road conditions. This will help you plan a safe route and let you know if you need to delay your travel.
Make sure you have a winter emergency kit in your car. A typical winter emergency kit includes:
- a shovel
- windshield scraper and small broom
- battery powered radio
- extra batteries
- snack food
- extra hats, socks and mittens
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- tow chain or rope
- road salt and sand
- booster cables
- emergency flares
- fluorescent distress flag
In addition, FEMA suggests checking the following items in your vehicle:
- Antifreeze level – ensure it is sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system – should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
- Brakes – check for wear and fluid levels.
- Exhaust system – check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary.
- Fuel and air filters – replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas.
- Heater and defroster – ensure they work properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability.
- Oil – check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
- Thermostat – ensure it works properly.
- Windshield wiper equipment – replace wiper blades, repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
- Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require chains or snow tires with studs.
For more winter preparedness tips from FEMA, go to http://goo.gl/S8nBa.