When it’s cold outside and the snowflakes start to fall, many drivers ignore or forget the risks associated with loose seat belts.
In order to make sure that drivers, passengers, and kids are safe at all times even while it’s cold, AAA released a list of guidelines to help drivers.
First and foremost, winter driving isn’t easy. Making sure your car is safe to drive is important, by ensuring the tires are in good condition and filled up according to factory recommendations. Checking the windshield wipers is also important to ensure visibility is not a problem while operating the car.
But if the goal is to be warm and safe, there are other things drivers must do to ensure their guests and children are protected in the event of an accident.
Before entering the car, AAA suggests, warm it up. But before you do so, make sure the exhaust pipe is cleared of any snow so the fumes won’t make their way back into the car. Then, turn the ignition on and turn up the heater. As passengers enter the vehicles wearing their heavy coats, they will be forced to remove it because the cabin in warm. Heavy, thick coats make it more difficult for seat belts to work. According to AAA, seat belts need to be fitted to the passenger so they are protected in the event of a crash, not the coat.
The same happens with children and toddlers.
Before strapping the child to the seat, remove their coats or other heavy, thick items such as blankets. Secure the child to the seat, strap him or her snugly and then place the open coat on top of the child. You may also use a blanket, and tuck it around him or her. For children, and specially small children, straps will only be effective if they are tight, protecting the child and securing him or her to the seat. If you seat your child while he or she is wearing a puffy coat, they may be at risk of being ejected in the event of a collision.
Safety seats can save lives, but that will only happen if the seats are being used correctly.
If you’re serious about your safety through this winter, follow these AAA tips and make sure to focus on the road and drive slowly.