Winter Driving Safety Tips for Those With COPD

Winter can be a dangerous time for everyone. If you hit a patch of ice and slide off the road, or if your car breaks down, things can quickly get perilous because of the cold temperatures.

For those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, it can be even more dangerous. However, there are some precautions you can take for winter driving safety.

Put Together a Car Emergency Kit

It would help if you kept certain things in the car with you, that you will need to stay warm or try to fix your problem. Here is a car emergency kit checklist so that you won't forget anything crucial:

  • Warm blankets, a sleeping bag, or even a “snuggie” to throw on if you are stranded and get cold while waiting for help to arrive.
  • Jumper cables. You need these in your car all year round, so you should hopefully already have them.
  • A window brush/scraper – a necessity in any car during the cold months.
  • Food and bottled water. Non-perishable foods like granola bars, trail mix or peanut butter crackers. Don't keep them in your car for too long, however. If they are still there into summer, throw them out. Check the expiration dates, as well. Be sure to bring a few bottles with you each time you leave the house, instead of leaving them in the car, or they will freeze.
  • Bring your medications with you everytime you leave the house, in a bag or your pocket. Things that you may need on the go, such as a rescue inhaler.
  • Cat litter or a bag of rough sand for traction in case you get stuck somewhere.
  • A cell phone charger with a cigarette lighter plug.

Always bring your portable oxygen concentrator DC adapter while on a car trip, as well as your portable oxygen concentrator if you need it.

BONUS: Hand and foot warmers that you activate and stick in your gloves or boots, emergency flares or reflectors, first aid kit, battery-powered radio.

Safetly Tips for Driving

  • Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times. This will prevent your fuel line from freezing.
  • Leave at least 3 car lengths between you and the person in front of you, in case of slick roads.
  • Always brush off or scrape all windows and your lights. Get most of it off of your hood, so it doesn't blow up on the windshield.
  • Tell people when you leave and give them your cell number, in case you don't reach your destination when you say you will.
  • Be even more careful of slick conditions on bridges.
  • Pay close attention to the weather, so you'll know when driving conditions or cold will be most dangerous.

Information on this page is for reference and educational purposes only. For more information about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), talk to your doctor or primary care provider.

Page last updated: October 5, 2018

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

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