Tips for Safe Holiday Travel

With a wintry mix predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday, you’ll need these tips to navigate the holiday’s potentially hazardous road conditions and arrive safely at your Thanksgiving destination.

O’er the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house you go–but with snow and ice forecasted for the midwest and northeast just before Thanksgiving, traveling may be treacherous this Thanksgiving, says the Snow & Ice Management Association, the North American organization representing snow management professionals. Those are the professionals who clear snow and ice off parking lots of hospitals, shopping centers and malls, grocery stores, sporting complexes, offices, apartments and townhouses, schools and universities, and other commercial facilities.

“Winter weather can have a negative impact on holiday travel and even prevent those on the roads from getting to their destination to enjoy Thanksgiving with their friends and families,” said Martin B. Tirado, CAE, CEO of SIMA.

SIMA has these tips on how you can arrive safely at your Thanksgiving destination.

TIP #1: Check weather reports. Before starting on your road trip, check the weather report. If freezing rain, sleet or snow already have started falling, listen to the news to hear about your local road conditions before leaving your home. If the roads are hazardous, consider staying home.

TIP #2: Be prepared. Just like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, you need to be prepared for whatever weather you run into. Be sure you have an ice scraper and snow brush in your car, not in the trunk, as snow and ice may make difficult to open the trunk. Have a full tank of gas, check the tire pressure, battery, oil. Take snow clothing–boots, gloves, hats, scarves–for all those traveling with you. Be sure your cell phone is charged before leaving home, and take a car charger. Carry a safe winter car kit containing items such as kitty litter, rock salt, a shovel, a blanket, flares and water.

TIP #3: Stay back. Make sure you remain a good distance away from snow removal equipment. While the strong lights on the snow removal equipment should allow the professional to see you, these lights can be blinding if they are behind you. In addition, some trucks may be spreading salt or other materials designed to melt snow and ice, and you don’t want those materials on your windshield, further blocking your ability to see.

TIP #4: No need for speed. You know to slow down in the rain, but this is even more true for snow and ice driving. The time that it takes you to stop and the possibility of sliding on ice increase when it starts to snow or when freezing conditions persist.

TIP #5: Watch for refreezing. With temperatures in flux at this time of the year, snow or ice that melts the next day may refreeze on the roads overnight. So once you arrive at your destination, be sure to check the weather forecasts for the nighttime temperatures to know if you might be encountering ice on the roads during your visit or on your way home.

Following these tips will help ensure that you arrive safely at your 2013 Thanksgiving destination to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones.

For more snow and ice removal tips, visit SIMA.

Founded in 1996, the Snow & Ice Management Association is the nation’s trade association for professionals involved with the snow and ice industry, including snow plowing, as well as commercial and residential snow removal for shopping centers, sporting complexes, apartment buildings, offices, schools and universities, hospitals and other necessary facilities in your community.


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