Louisiana has its own unique climate and storm system that can make winter driving difficult. According to the State of Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, more deaths are caused by transportation accidents during winter storms than anything else. Drivers can avoid disaster and danger if they prepare their cars and know what to do if they are stranded during a storm.

It is suggested that drivers have the car checked by a mechanic before a trip. The mechanic should check the defroster, brakes, heater, exhaust system, lights, thermostat, ignition system, windshield washer fluid and wipers, antifreeze, battery and thermostat. Cars should have good winter tires and drivers should keep a small broom or windshield scraper on hand to remove snow and ice. During the winter season, drivers should always keep at least half a tank of gas in the car when possible.

If possible, residents should use public transportation during winter storms rather than venturing out on their own. If a driver must go out on their own, it is encouraged that they carry food and water, dress warmly and keep a winter car kit in the car. A winter car kit should have things such as flashlights, blankets, matches, a first aid kit, any necessary medication and extra clothing.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also encourages drivers to check for any recalls on their vehicle. If there is a known defect with the vehicle and the car has not been recalled, it can be extremely dangerous to take it out during a storm. In most cases, any recalls fixes are free of charge.

When driving, it is also important that the driver stay alert at all times, that seat belts are properly used and risky driving behaviors are avoided. During winter, roads may be icy or snowy and extra space between each vehicle can save lives.