McQuiston: Five Tips For Safe Winter Driving

The Jemez Agency
The winter holiday season brings great things like Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, delicious food, and time with family. It also can bring not-so-great things like adding pounds to the waistline, juggling a hectic schedule, and feeling more tired when you return to work after the first of the year.
In a child’s eyes, and for some adults, the winter holiday season means snow – which is a great thing. Building snowmen and igloos, riding a sled down a hill, having a snow ball fight, and on those great days – no school! 
From a driver’s perspective, it’s sloppy and irritating, creates delays, and sparks the “wish I lived in Florida” feeling.
Regardless of whether or not you enjoy snow, each one of us living in snow-prone areas must properly prepare ourselves for winter driving. Here are five winter driving tips to assure we reach our destination safely.
1.  Dress appropriately. Sounds simple. But if you have a teenager like mine, they are wearing shorts and t-shirts to head over to a friend’s house. He should have a warm coat, gloves, good shoes or boots, hat, and scarf.
2.  Prepare your car for winter. Assure tires are properly inflated, fluid levels are maintained, the gas tank is at least 3/4 full when a storm is approaching, and windshield wiper blades are working well.
3.  Stock your vehicle. In the event you do get stranded, be sure to have plenty of blankets, some snacks, a good working flashlight, a bottle of water and extra clothes.
4.  Have something with grit. If you get stuck, it’s always good to have a bag of salt, sand, ice melt, or even kitty litter to provide some traction.
5.  Don’t be in a hurry. Judge the road conditions and drive accordingly. Try to stay on roads that have been plowed, salted or treated. Drive defensively when in heavy traffic. And remember, black ice can always be a possibility.
To all I wish a Happy New Year.