Don’t be a turkey when you hit the streets – Naval Safety Center | CarTailz

It’s that time of year when many begin to imagine the smells of delicious pumpkin pie, turkey and stuffing. Some have already started thoughtful preparations to prepare the perfect meal for their loved ones this Thanksgiving. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Naval Safety Command reminds all those planning to hit the road over the long weekend to be diligent and plan their trip accordingly, regardless of distance or destination.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), there were 440 fatal accidents and an estimated 33,000 accidents involving injuries in winter conditions in 2019. In addition, an estimated 182,000 accidents reported by police occurred in freezing conditions. If you live in or are traveling through a region that experiences snow, sleet, and ice, use the three “Ps” to minimize your risk on the road: Prepare for the trip; Protect yourself and prevent accidents on the road.


Here are some tips to help you prepare your vehicle for possible winter weather conditions.

  1. Check your vehicle’s headlights, brake lights, turn signals, hazard lights, and interior lights. If necessary, check your trailer’s brake lights and indicators.
  2. A single blizzard can quickly use up a lot of windshield wiper fluid. Fill your vehicle’s storage tank with a winter mix before colder weather sets in. Make sure defrosters and windshield wipers are working and replace worn blades. Consider installing heavy-duty winter wipers if you live in an area with a lot of snow and ice.
  3. Make sure that there is sufficient coolant in your vehicle and that it corresponds to the manufacturer’s specifications. See your vehicle’s owner’s manual for recommendations. Check the cooling system for leaks, test the coolant and drain and replace the old coolant.
  4. A consideration specific to electric and hybrid electric vehicles is that lower temperatures can increase the stress on the battery. In general, lithium-ion batteries have reduced energy at lower temperatures. Also, most vehicles use battery power for self-heating at low temperatures. Battery drain from heating can be minimized by keeping your EV as warm as possible in sub-zero temperatures. A common way to do this: plug your vehicle in at night during the winter and keep the battery temperature within the optimal range. For those with fuel-powered cars, the ideal is to keep the gas tanks nearly full as much as possible.

Good preparation includes well thought-out planning. Plan your route using local weather and traffic reports before setting off. If roads are not in good condition, consider postponing non-essential travel until roads are clear. Your loved ones can keep your plate warm and understand that your safety comes first.

Protect yourself. If you must go out, make sure you are prepared for any lengthy delays. If bad weather is forecast, consider changing your departure time to avoid being out during the worst of the storm and ensure you are prepared for any lengthy delays.

Even those who are prepared or used to driving in snowy regions can suddenly get stuck or stranded in wintry weather. So make sure you carry in your vehicle items for everyday winter driving tasks and supplies you may need in an emergency. Recommended items include: a snow shovel, a broom, an ice scraper; Abrasives (sand or kitty litter) if your vehicle gets stuck in snow; jumper cables, flashlights and warning devices (flares and emergency markers); blankets for protection against the cold; a cell phone and car charger, water, food and all necessary medication.

Prevent and minimize the chance of an accident by making sure you are mentally and physically fit while driving. For longer journeys, allow enough time to stop, stretch, eat, check your phone, change drivers, and rest if you feel tired. While driving, increase your following distance enough to give yourself enough time to stop in front of vehicles in front. Snowplows travel slowly, make wide turns and stop frequently, overlap lanes, and go off the road, so do not crowd or drive alongside a snowplow. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, keep a safe distance and use caution when passing the plow.

These tips can help ensure you reach your destinations safely and not be an unsafe turkey on wintry roads this winter season.

For more information on winter driving, see NHTSA and view additional resources such as NAVSAFECOM’s Fall and Winter Safety Presentation here.

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