[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                   November 27, 2009   
Safety

Preparations can help make
for better winter driving

Servicemembers and civilian employees are advised to make preparations to ensure their safety while traveling during the upcoming winter and holiday season, according to the Fort McCoy Installation Safety Office (ISO).

People who travel during the winter months are encouraged to ensure their vehicle is winter-ready and they are equipped with good sources to check for potential travel conditions or inclement weather.

Vehicles can be prepared for winter at a maintenance facility, such as the Fort McCoy Automotive Skills Center, building 1763, or a commercial car maintenance center. Motorists also should develop and carry an emergency car kit in their vehicles in case they meet with unforeseen weather circumstances.

Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Jose Falconett of the Dental Activity at Fort McCoy works on changing oil and a car battery in preparation for winter. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Sgt. 1st Class Jose Falconett of the Dental Activity at Fort McCoy works on changing oil and a car battery in preparation for winter. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Among the things that should be checked on vehicles are the antifreeze to ensure it’s adequate and rotating tires or replacing them as necessary to ensure that tires have sufficient tread depth for winter traction. Authorized personnel can do these things at the Automotive Skills Center.

In addition, the heater, defroster, lights, brakes and windshield wipers should be checked, and repaired or replaced if necessary, to ensure they’re in good working condition.

Windshield washer tanks should be filled and gas tanks should be at least half full at all times to help guard against gas lines freezing and to provide adequate fuel in case motorists are stranded in their vehicles during winter-weather conditions.

Deb Heise-Clark of the McCoy ISO said motorists should be aware of phone numbers and Web sites that can provide information and/or assistance during winter weather driving conditions.

Motorists in Wisconsin can call 511 on their cell phones to get road conditions for the county they’re driving in.

This information also is available at a toll-free number 1-866-511-WISC (9472). In addition, road conditions can be accessed online by going to the Web site http://www.511wi.gov/web/map.aspx?region=winterroads&show=1.

Current weather conditions for selected Wisconsin locations are available at the Web site http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/gis/rwis.htm.

Another key to safe travel during winter months is to plan ahead and observe good winter driving safety practices. This includes driving with headlights on because it makes vehicles easier to see.

Motorists also should slow down in inclement weather and allow extra time to reach their destinations.

Heise-Clark said winter survival kits also can be critical to ensure safety. Some of the items that should be in the kit include essential winter-survival gear. This can include a first-aid kit or medical supplies, extra clothing, a blanket, outdoor winter clothing, and emergency nourishment and other nonperishable food, such as granola bars.

Among the other suggested items to have on hand are a shovel, tool kits and booster cables, and a windshield scraper and brush.

Military personnel taking trips during the holidays are encouraged to use the Travel Risk Planning System (TRiPS), which is available through the Combat Readiness Center Web site at https://safety.army.mil.

TRiPS is an online, automated program that has users answer questions and based on the answer to those questions the program reveals actual accidents that have occurred in similar situations. The program analyzes and assigns a level of risk to travel plans, along with control measures used to lower the risk level. The program also shows basic driving directions to various destinations.

The ISO also has information about a number of safety topics available at the Fort McCoy Extranet. Access is available from the Fort McCoy Corporate Network or from the public Web site at http://www.mccoy.army.mil. Access requires an Army Knowledge Online account. For more information in the Fort McCoy community, people also can call the ISO at 608-388-3403.

 

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