By Kathryn DeHoyos
Driving in winter weather can be difficult and dangerous, even for the most experienced driver. You can be faced with any combination of snow, ice, sleet and hail. While the best advice is to stay off the roads, sometimes travel is unavoidable or hazardous conditions arise suddenly or unexpectedly.
The first and most important thing you can do to avoid getting stuck in the snow is to make sure you have a safe and reliable vehicle. The 2014 Chevrolet Impala has received a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score for Safety* from the National Highway Traffic Administration—their highest possible score. And with a wide wheelbase for better handling, standard StabiliTrak, OnStar** and an available Advanced Safety Package, the Impala is a great winter-weather car.
Here are a few other precautions you can take:
1) Have what you need to maintain visibility. If you live in a place where the temperature dips below freezing, make sure your car is equipped with an ice scraper and snow brush long before the season starts. And in snowy, slushy, salty conditions you’ll use windshield wiper fluid at a much higher rate, so always check that before you head out.
2) How to get traction when there isn’t any. Most people get stuck in the snow because they get to a place where they have no traction and can’t get out. Prepare for this ahead of time by carrying rock salt, kitty litter and a large piece of rough carpet or artificial turf to give your wheels the traction they need.
3) Bring out the heavy-duty equipment for the worst conditions. Have a set of tire chains that fit your tire size and know how to put them on. Some roads that get large amounts of snow will require them.
4) Always have a back up. Always have a spare. It goes without saying that you should have a fully-aired spare tire and jack, but this is especially important if there’s a chance of bad road conditions.
5) Be able to fix problems quickly so you can get going again. Make sure you have a working set of jumper cables and a tool kit.
If you do get stuck, there are several items you should have on hand to keep you safe and warm until help arrives.
1) To help you be seen. Carry emergency flares or reflective triangles to place at a safe distance behind your vehicle so other drivers can see you.
2) To help you see. A strong flashlight with extra batteries is a must.
3) To help you stay warm. Keep an extra set of warm clothes in the car, especially for your extremities—hats, scarves, extra socks and extra gloves—as well as an old blanket or two.
4) To keep you hydrated. Store a few sealed bottles of clean water in a place where they won’t freeze. Don’t eat snow, as this can lower your body temperature and hypothermia is a very real danger if you’re stranded for any length of time.
5) To keep your energy up. Before any trip that might involve inclement weather, pack high-protein snacks, such as power bars, trail mix and nuts.
Being prepared will help you with the most important thing to remember: Stay calm and conserve both your energy and your gas. Don’t ever leave your car unless you know exactly where you’re going, it’s a short distance away and you’re sure you can improve your situation.
Have the added confidence you need in the snow by driving a car like the Impala that’s as dedicated to safety as you are.
The trademarks mentioned in this story are held by their respective owners.
Kathryn DeHoyos is an Executive Editor for The Good Men Project. She enjoys spending quality time with her two young daughters and is committed to making the world a happier place.
*Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s
New Car Assessment Program (www.SaferCar.gov).
**Visit onstar.com for coverage map, details and system limitations.Services vary by model and conditions.
OnStar acts as a link to existing emergency service providers.