On the road, ready for snow!

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Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing

Ring ting tingle-in too

Come on, it’s lovely weather

For a sleigh ride together with you!

‘Tis the season for holiday songs and cheery good will. That being said, it’s also the season for unexpected snow, black ice, and “ugh-I-don’t-have-snow-chains!” The Willamette Valley has enjoyed snowfall at least twice in the past two weeks. Although snow triggers excitement for school closures and playing outside, it also reminds parents that it’s time to make sure that they are prepared to drive in adverse conditions.

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The Oregon Department of Transportation has many tips on how to stay safe in driving snow and ice. Some of the tips to be aware of include:

  1. Allow extra time to get where you’re going. Travel is going to be slow. Road rage isn’t going to help anyone get anywhere any faster.
  2. Check road conditions on your route before you go at TripCheck.com or by dialing 511. Plan your trip accordingly. If conditions are questionable, wait it out.
  3. Turn off your cruise control.
  4. Allow extra stopping distance. There is less traction on slick, snowy roads.
  5. Turn on your headlights to increase your visibility.
  6. Brake gently to avoid skidding or sliding. If the wheels lock up, ease off the brakes.
  7. Carry chains and know how to use them. Practice! Practice! Practice!
  8. Make sure your vehicle is in top operating conditions, with clean headlights, good brakes, working windshield wipers and good tires.
  9. Slow down when approaching off-ramps, bridges and shady spots where the snow often lingers longer.

In addition to the aforementioned driving safety tips, make sure that you have an emergency kit in your car at all times. Basic staples to include in the emergency are: blankets, water, flashlights, batteries, flares, road reflectors, jumper cables, first aid kit, gloves, boots, snacks, ice scraper, sand or kitty litter for traction, etc. A simple internet search will yield many helpful lists of items to pack in an emergency car kit. Still, when you are a parent and have little ones with you in the car during an emergency, you’ll need to make sure that you some more “emergency” items just in case. Such as:

Hand sanitizer                Crayons/Pencils & Paper    Sippy Cups

Diapers & Baby Wipes            Deck of cards            Small “surprise manipulative toys”

A few extra grocery bags        Medicine (Ibuprofen, allergies)    Toilet paper

Your children’s easy, go-to travel snack    Cash                Extra set of clothes & shoes

Books (Children’s and Read aloud)    Towels                Female travel urinal (works for males, too!)

This list isn’t all inclusive. Parents should personalize their emergency kit to what best fits the needs of their children. Sure, it might feel like you’re basically packing up everything but the kitchen sink, but it is better to be safe (and sane!) than sorry if you ever get stuck out in snowy weather.

The Parenting Hub would love to hear what are your “must have” items for an emergency car kit. Please send your ideas and tips to: parentinghub@earlylearninghub.org.