Pre­pare for In­clement Weather

Trail Rider - - SAFE TRAVELS - BY RE­BECCA GIMENEZ, PhD

LLate fall and early win­ter can be a beau­ti­ful time to travel with your horse, but this time of year is also no­to­ri­ous for in­clement weather that can quickly sneak up on you. To bet­ter pre­pare, keep your eyes on the sky, and check the weather fore­casts for de­vel­op­ing weather con­di­tions. If con­di­tions re­ally de­te­ri­o­rate, re­con­sider your travel plans. Stay home. If you’re al­ready on the road, find a safe place to sit out the storm.

How­ever, you might get caught in in­clement weather — such as driv­ing rain, dense fog, slick mud, and light snow — de­spite your best ef­forts. Or, the need to be on the road (such as an emer­gency trip to the vet­eri­nar­ian) may out­weigh chal­leng­ing weather con­di­tions or an iffy fore­cast.

Here, I’ll first tell you how to check your tires’ trac­tion. Then I’ll go over how you can pre­pare your tow ve­hi­cle and trailer for max­i­mum vis­i­bil­ity and safety in in­clement weather.

Learn how to eval­u­ate tire trac­tion and pre­pare your rig for op­ti­mal safety in chal­leng­ing weather con­di­tions.

Eval­u­ate Tire Trac­tion

Tire trac­tion is cru­cial for both your tow ve­hi­cle and trailer. There are few things more frus­trat­ing than get­ting your rig stuck, slid­ing off the road, jack­knif­ing, or get­ting high-cen­tered in a ditch, even dur­ing a slow-mo­tion in­ci­dent. Op­ti­mal trac­tion can help pre­vent such in­ci­dents.

To eval­u­ate your tires’ trac­tion, check the tread­wear grade, trac­tion rat­ing, and tire age. Here’s how to eval­u­ate each one.

Tread­wear grade (how long your tires will last over sur­faces) is a com­par­a­tive nu­mer­i­cal rat­ing based on the tire’s wear rate when tested un­der con­trolled con­di­tions on a spec­i­fied gov­ern­ment test course. For ex­am­ple, a tire graded 200 would wear twice as well on the course as a tire graded 100. The ac­tual per­for­mance of a tire de­pends upon the ac­tual con­di­tions of use and may de­part sig­nif­i­cantly from the test con­di­tions due to vari­a­tions in driv­ing habits, ser­vic­ing, road char­ac­ter­is­tics, cli­mate, weight, etc. Get the best-qual­ity tires you can af­ford.

The trac­tion rat­ing in­di­cates a tire’s abil­ity to stop a ve­hi­cle mov­ing straight for­ward on wet pave­ment. (This is sup­posed to

HEIDI MELOCCO PHOTO Late fall and early win­ter can be a beau­ti­ful time to travel with your horse, but this time of year is also no­to­ri­ous for in­clement weather that can quickly sneak up on you, such as light snow.

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