Travel nursing is an exciting career, but it shouldnâ€™t be dangerous. With the heart of winter around the corner itâ€™s important to be smart when you travel. This involves making sure your vehicle is winter ready and taking some simple precautions to ensure your safety.
The first step is getting your vehicle ready to go:
Make sure your car is serviced to the manufacturerâ€™s recommendations.
Get an oil change.
Have your antifreeze (coolant) mixture checked.
Check the battery. A lot of mechanics will do this for free.
Replace your wiper blades and refill the windshield washer fluid.
Check your tire pressure in all four tires. Make sure your spare is filled and in good working order. Check the tread and condition of each tire and fix or replace any leaking tires.
Check all headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals.
Make sure your heater and defroster are working.
Have your brakes checked.
If you have four-wheel drive check to make sure itâ€™s operating properly.
Be sure to keep your gas tank at least 1/4 full or above to help prevent your gas line from freezing.
Buy or build an emergency kit in case of a winter emergency. Include:
an adjustable crescent wrench
candles with matches or light sticks
duct or electrical tape
a first aid kit
a fix-a-flat kit
funnels and extra fluids (oil, power steering, etc.)
flashlights with batteries
screwdrivers (Philips and flathead)
reflectors and flares
spare towels or rags
You should also include a small or collapsible shovel, ice scraper, kitty litter (for traction), extra clothes and coats, blankets, gloves and hats. Itâ€™s also a good idea to include a supply of non-perishable food and water. Include a brightly colored cloth that can be seen during bad weather to tie around your antenna in case someone needs to see your car from the road. Donâ€™t use white since it may be tough to see during a snowstorm. And of course, make sure your cell phone is always charged and bring a calling card for a payphone.
It only makes sense to try not to drive in bad weather, but if you have to:
Plan your route ahead of time, not only your main route, but having a few alternate routes mapped out is also a good idea.
Give yourself plenty of time to make the trip, it is better to be safe and late than put yourself in danger.
Make sure someone else knows your routes and schedule. That way if you run into trouble, people will know where to look for you.
Always check the radio, television or internet for up to date weather information before you leave and during your trip.
If you can, take someone with you or travel with another vehicle.
Be careful and mindful of ice patches on bridges and overpasses.
Look for safety right away if a storm begins to worsen.
If for some reason your car gets stuck, stay with it. Run your engine and heater for short periods. But make sure to crack a window to avoid carbon monoxide build-up.
Let a friend, family member or your recruiter know your travel plans and call them when you reach your destination to let them know you arrived safely.
Remember, common sense when you drive is your best tool for safe travel during the winter.