Winter storms are common in Nova Scotia. Blizzards, ice storms and high winds can all cause major problems. Poor road conditions, power outages and business closures can all create an inconvenience. Before winter comes it’s important to make a few preparations.
Prepare the Vehicle:
- Get a complete tune-up in the fall.
- Check your tire pressure at least once a month to ensure that tires are properly inflated.
- Have your exhaust system carefully checked for leaks that could send carbon monoxide into your vehicle.
- Check your radiator and hoses for cracks and leaks. Make sure the radiator cap, water pump and thermostat work properly. Test the strength of the anti-freeze and test the functioning of the heater and defroster.
- Make sure wipers are in good condition, and fill up on winter washer fluid. Carry an extra jug in the vehicle.
If You Must Drive in Bad Weather:
- Make sure you have enough fuel. Try to keep the tank at least half-full at all times. Give yourself extra time to travel.
- Clear all snow from the hood, roof, windows and lights. Clear all windows of fog. If visibility becomes poor, find a safe place to pull over.
- If you are forced to stop at the side of the road, put on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
- Plan your route and let someone know your destination and expected time of arrival.
- Keep to the main roads and drive with caution.
- Avoid passing another vehicle when weather and road conditions are bad.
- Wear warm clothing that does not restrict movement.
- Take a cell phone with you.
- Make sure you have a vehicle emergency kit in your car at all times.
If You Become Trapped in a Storm or Stuck in a Snow Bank, Don’t Panic:
- Avoid overexertion and exposure.
- Stay in your car. You won’t get lost and you’ll have shelter.
- Keep fresh air in your car. Open a window on the side sheltered from the wind.
- Run your engine sparingly. Beware of exhaust fumes and the possibility of carbon monoxide.
- Ensure the tailpipe is not blocked by snow.
- Set out a warning light or flares.
- Exercise your limbs – keep moving and don’t fall asleep.
- Wear a hat, as you can lose up to 60 per cent of your body heat through your head.
- Keep watch for traffic or searchers.