Car Accidents in Wisconsin: Winter Driving
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Car accidents in Wisconsin occur often in Wisconsin's Winter. These transportation accidents are the leading cause of death during winter storms. Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to safe winter driving.
Before Wisconsin's Winter
Have a mechanic check the following items on your car.
|Wipers and windshield washer fluid|
|Flashing hazard lights|
|Oil level (if necessary, replace existing oil with a winter grade oil or the SAE 10w/30 weight variety)|
You should install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions in Wisconsin although driver's of certain vehicles may wish to obtain snow tires. Also, keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal and maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
During storms, plan long trips carefully, listen to the radio or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions. Always travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person. If you must go out, use public transportation, dress warmly, and take extra food and water.
Winter Car Kit
Keep these items in your car:
|Flashlights with extra batteries|
|First aid kit with pocket knife|
|Extra newspapers for insulation|
|Plastic bags (for sanitation)|
|Extra set of mittens, socks, and a wool cap|
|Rain gear and extra clothes|
|Small sack of sand for generating traction under|
|Small tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver)|
|Set of tire chains or traction mats|
|Cards, games, and puzzles|
|Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag|
|Canned fruit and nuts|
|Nonelectric can opener|
During Wisconsin's Winter
If trapped in a car:
|Stay in the car.|
|Do not leave the car to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards. You may become disoriented and lost is blowing and drifting snow.|
|Display a trouble sign.|
|Hang a brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna and raise the hood.|
|Occasionally run engine to keep warm.|
|Turn on the car's engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Run the heater when the car is running. Also, turn on the car's dome light when the car is running.|
|Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.|
|Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.|
|Do minor exercises to keep up circulation.|
|Clap hands and move arms and legs occasionally. Try not to stay in one position for too long. If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.|
|For warmth, huddle together.|
|Use newspapers, maps, and even the removable car mats for added insulation.|
Also, during winter you need to avoid overexertion because cold weather puts an added strain on the heart and unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Watch also for frostbite, which is a severe reaction to cold exposure that can permanently damage its victims. A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, or nose and ear lobes are symptoms of frostbite. Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and exhaustion. If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance. Warm the person's trunk first. Use your own body heat to help. Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure. Put person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket. Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim something with caffeine in it (like coffee or tea) or alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effects the cold has on the body. Alcohol, a depressant, can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold body temperatures.
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