Winter weather increases driving risks. Churches that sponsor winter trips should use a written checklist for the driver and vehicle and have an emergency plan in place if a problem should occur.
Individuals who regularly drive church or school vehicles during cold weather should receive specialized driver's training. Others who volunteer or who drive on a limited basis should follow a written checklist and understand church or school policies on how to respond to an emergency.
Before departing, examine the vehicle, fluid levels (oil, antifreeze, windshield washer), tires, and check to see that all emergency equipment is accounted for (see below). Make sure the spare tire is in good repair and that a jack is present. It is also a good idea to have a portable 12 volt air pump as well as a spare set of keys which are kept by a second person. As a standard policy, vehicles should be properly serviced prior to a trip and always begin with a full tank of gas both coming and going. Fill up with gas as soon as you arrive at your destination to avoid ice in the tank.
If more than one vehicle is being used for the trip, stay in visible contact with one another once you are on the road. Obtain a weather report before departing. Schedule driving during daylight hours and use major roads. Don't try to save time by using secondary roads. Have a designated person to contact if a problem should arise. Drivers should wear sunglasses to cut down on glare.
Conditions can become hazardous rapidly, and all vehicles should have equipment such as blankets, flashlight with fully charged batteries, a cell phone, shovel, windshield scraper and brush, flares, water proof matches, tool kit, booster cables, tow-line, a knife, bag of sand, portable radio, a red distress flag, maps, and emergency rations. It is best to create an emergency kit in a sturdy, easy to carry container that contains most of these items.