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IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN Drivers prepare for winter woes

October 9, 2012 Car Care

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Breaking down is no fun. With winter drawing near, there are various items motorists should carry with them in the event of car problems. Jumper cables, flashlights, blankets, a first aid kit and safety vest can all come in handy if something goes wrong along the way. Metro creative connection

Now that winter is approaching, state police remind motorists to be more careful and prepared.

Trooper Ron Kesten stressed that drivers should slow down during bad weather and in road construction zones.

However, to be ready just in case there is an accident, motorists should keep some items in their vehicles, Kesten said.

“Winter’s coming, you should have blankets in there,” he said. “Definitely some flashlights.”

Kesten also recommends carrying a blinking light or triangle marker to warn people about disabled vehicles ahead.

He said vehicles also should have first aid kits and people should be trained in CPR.

Steve Bicehouse, director of Butler County emergency services, said those injured in an accident should try not to move until paramedics arrive.

“Stay still until someone gets there,” Bicehouse said.

He said the exception is when it’s unsafe to remain in the vehicle, such as if it catches fire.

Bicehouse said before leaving a disabled vehicle, a driver should ensure it is in the park gear and the engine is shut off.

According to Kesten, people need to avoid getting involved in a second accident while dealing with one that has already occurred. He said travelers should be careful walking by the road after getting out of a vehicle.

“There’s a lot of traffic on the street,” he said. “Always be cognizant of that. Traffic doesn’t always stop.”

Kesten said a vehicle should be pulled as far from the road as possible, then the people should move to a safe distance from the road.

He pointed out many accidents occur when vehicles wreck into ones that have already crashed.

A standard 42-item AAA road emergency kit includes jumper cables, a flashlight, batteries, poncho, safety vest and 19 first aid items.

According to AAA, thousands of crashes each year involve a passenger vehicle and a large truck.

AAA offers these four tips to share the road safely:

Avoid traveling in the no-sight zones of large vehicles. Those are the areas to the side, rear and front of trucks and buses where there are blind spots.

Don’t tailgate. Travel several car lengths behind a large vehicle.

Use caution while passing a truck. Don’t go back into the same driving lane until the whole cab can be seen in a rearview mirror.

Never cut between a turning truck and the right curb or shoulder. Trucks need to swing wide to the right to complete a right turn safely.

AAA also recommends delaying driving for 10 minutes when a heavy downpour starts. That is because when rain begins, it brings oil and debris to the road surface and the ground doesn’t have time to absorb the moisture.

Those conditions make it more likely for a vehicle to hydroplane.

Whether it is snowing or raining, AAA gives these tips when driving:

Steer around an obstacle rather than braking if possible.

Don’t rely on cruise control.

Avoid hard braking and sharp turns.

Increase the following distance between vehicles.

If stuck while driving a vehicle with a manual transmission, rock your way out using second gear

If stuck while driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission, use a low gear to move forward until the vehicle stops. Then, shift into reverse and move backward until momentum stops.

Repeat the process using minimum power to prevent the wheels from spinning and digging in deeper.

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