USRider Offers Tips for Winter Travel Season
RELEASE: November 20, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By USRider
With the change of seasons, USRider, the national provider of roadside emergency assistance for equestrians, reminds those who travel with horses to be careful when traveling and to invest time doing routine preventive trailer maintenance to enhance their travel safety.
“While trailering horses in the winter is not all that different from trailering any time of the year, you do need to make a few adjustments for hauling in cold weather,” said equine travel expert Neva Kittrell Scheve.
She added that during anytime of the year—regardless of temperatures—the basic rules apply:
—Make sure your trailer is safe.
—Make sure the horse’s inoculations are up-to-date.
—Carry a current health certificate and certificate of negative EIA if crossing state lines.
—Wrap all four legs with shipping wraps or boots.
—Carry an emergency first aid kit and know how to use it.
—Learn to monitor vital signs of the horse.
—Carry backup supplies appropriate to the length of the trip.
—Carry emergency contact numbers for yourself and your horses and keep in a visible place.
—Carry a truck/car emergency kit. During the winter months, be sure the kit includes a shovel, sand, red flag, horse blankets, human blankets, candle, matches or lighter, and tire chains.
It’s also prudent to have a first-rate roadside assistance program to help in the event of an emergency.
“A good roadside assistance program is something all horse owners should have but hope they will never have to use,” said Mark Cole, managing member for USRider. “To that end, our mission is to continually educate horse owners about trailering safety.”
It is very important to make sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving. Be sure to maintain your vehicle according to the manufacturer’s service schedule. It’s also important to take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic.
“When it comes to vehicle maintenance, especially heavy-duty vehicles towing precious cargo, it is better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to vehicle maintenance,” said Cole. “If you have not already done so, the time to establish a relationship with a trusted ASE (www.ase.com) mechanic is before your vehicle breaks down on the side of the highway while towing your horse trailer.”
USRider recommends that you check tire pressure before each trip. This is especially important with temperature changes. If you are traveling from a warm climate to a cold climate, air pressure in your tires will drop. On the other hand, when traveling from a cold climate into a warm climate, the air pressure will rise.
The main reason for disablements is early tire failure (blowout) from temperature build-up from tires that are under inflated. So, be sure to invest in a high-quality pressure gauge and learn how to use it. Check the owner’s manual for the proper tire pressure for your passenger or tow vehicle. The proper tire pressure for your trailer should be stamped on the trailer tire, or contact the trailer manufacturer for that information.
A weak battery will usually reveal itself during cold weather. So, if your battery is more than a couple of years old, be sure to check it prior to cold weather setting in. Otherwise, you will most likely be inconvenienced on some cold morning when the battery fails to start your vehicle.
When driving, a good rule of thumb to follow on the road is “Rain, ice and snow—take it slow.”
Before setting out on a trip, be sure to check weather reports and plan accordingly. Be sure to allow extra time for inclement weather. Mother Nature doesn’t care that you need to be somewhere at a certain time.
Keep in mind that weather and driving conditions can change rapidly, so be aware of changing conditions, and drive for the conditions.
It’s important to look ahead to