As west coast transplants to the east coast, my senior mom and I enjoyed two mild snow days a couple of years ago and thought they were quite interesting. Now, as new transplants to Kentucky, we're discovering "we ain't seen nothin' yet!" 🙂 This morning we woke to:
Several hours later we are enjoying this view:
And it's still snowing!
I'm just so grateful God allowed me to have a flat tire earlier this week. I knew they weren't the greatest tires as I occasionally did a bit of a "slide" in the rain. When I took them in, I discovered the tread was down to 4. I had the option of replacing 1, 2 or 4 tires. Since I don't have four-wheel or all-wheel drive, and now live where it can snow a lot, I decided I would at least make sure I had good all-weather tires on my minivan.
I usually get my tires fixed or replaced at the Sam's Club or Costco tires department and have always been pleased at their recommendations. This time was no exception. I asked the knowledgeable young man what all weather tire he would recommend and he suggested the Goodyear Assurance. He showed me the different grooves on this all weather tire and explained how water was diverted by one set of grooves and snow by another set. They looked great and were a little less expensive than I had thought, so I was thrilled. Later, as I drove my car with them on, I was very pleased at how much more stable my car felt. And today, as I look out over my lovely winter wonderland back yard, I am even more thrilled to know that if I have to run my senior mom to an unexpected doctor appointment or go pick up one of my grandchildren, I'm in much better shape than I would have been last week!
Of course, tires aren't the only way to stay safe while driving in snow or rain. The Kentucky State Police Department issued a press release with several great winter weather tips. With their permission, I wanted to share all the tips with you as well. I would encourage you print them out as a reference for yourself, give a copy of them to your elderly parents, if they are still driving in snow country, and put a copy in the glove compartment of any and all cars you may drive! I'm off to do that right now!
KSP Offers Winter Driving Tips To Motorists
(Frankfort, Ky.) — With the onset of winter and the possibility that motorists may have to drive in inclement weather, the Kentucky State Police are offering safe driving tips.
"Winter provides new challenges and responsibilities to the public and the Kentucky State Police," said KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer. "We ask that drivers be prepared to meet the challenges of the upcoming winter season in Kentucky. Plan ahead, make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained, drive defensively and be sure the vehicle is properly maintained to handle the effects of cold temperatures."
KSP reported that slippery roads were the contributing factor in 15,766 crashes and 97 fatalities in 2008.
Highway Safety Branch Commander, Lt. David Jude offers a word of caution about braking on snow covered roads. "Know what kind of brakes your vehicle has and how to use them properly. In general, if you have anti-lock brakes, apply firm pressure, if you have non anti-lock brakes, pump the brakes gently," says Jude.
"If you find yourself in a skid, stay calm and ease your foot off the gas while carefully steering in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go. This procedure, known as 'steering into the skid' will bring the back end of your vehicle in line with the front," added Jude.
The Highway Safety Branch has posted these additional safe driving tips on their website:
Winter Safe Driving Tips To Follow:
- Be Cautious About Travel
- Listen for radio or television reports of travel advisories issued by the National Weather Service.
- Avoid traveling on ice-covered roads if at all possible.
- If you must travel, let someone know your destination and when you expect to arrive. Ask them to notify authorities if you are late.
- Check and restock the winter emergency supplies in your car before you leave.
- Never pour water on your windshield to remove ice or snow; shattering may occur.
- Never rely on your car to provide sufficient heat; the car may break down.
- Always dress warmly.
- Always carry clothing appropriate for winter conditions.
What To Do If You Get Stranded
- Staying in your vehicle when stranded is often the safest choice if winter storms create poor visibility or if roadways are ice-covered. These steps will increase your safety when stranded:
- Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna as a signal to rescuers.
- Move anything you need from the trunk into the passenger area.
- Wrap your entire body, including your head, in extra clothing, blankets, or newspapers.
- Stay awake. You will be less vulnerable to cold-related health problems.
- Run the motor (and heater) for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let air in.
- Make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe-this will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to improve your circulation and stay warmer.
- Do not eat un-melted snow it will lower your body temperature.
Prepare Your Vehicle For Winter
- You can avoid many dangerous winter travel problems by planning ahead. Have maintenance service on your vehicle as often as the manufacturer recommends.
- Have the radiator system serviced, or check the antifreeze level yourself with an antifreeze tester. Add antifreeze, as needed.
- Replace windshield-wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture.
- Replace any worn tires, and check the air pressure in the tires.
- During winter, keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
Winter Survival Kit For Your Vehicle:
- Cell phone and charger
- First-aid kit
- A can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for water)
- Windshield scraper
- Booster cables
- Road maps
- Tool kit
- Paper towels
- Bag of sand or cat litter (to pour on ice or snow for added traction)
- Tire chains (in areas with heavy snow)
- Collapsible shovel
- High-calorie canned or dried foods and a can opener
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Canned compressed air with sealant (for emergency tire repair)
- Brightly colored cloth
Citizens can contribute to highway safety by reporting erratic drivers to the Kentucky State Police toll-free at 1-800-222-5555. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.
Stay warm, stay safe, and drive careful. I'll be following these same great tips as I drive around on my nice new Goodyear Assurance tires. And by the way, I know an all weather tire doesn't seem like the most romantic thing in the world. But with Valentine's Day just around the corner, telling your honey their safety is vital to you with the gift of a set of these tires might actually lead to some sweet talkin' fun. 🙂