The official start of winter is just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about winter weather and preparing yourself and your vehicle for the inevitable snowy and icy conditions that Old Man Winter always brings. As Benjamin Franklin once said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Before you drive:
Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Incorrectly inflated tires can lead to difficulty maneuvering and increases your chances of an accident.
Have your battery checked and charged.
Fill your washer fluid reservoir and replace any damaged or worn-out wipers.
Keep your gas tank filled above the ½ tank mark to prevent frozen fuel lines and to be sure you have enough gas in case of an emergency.
Prepare a Winter Auto Emergency Kit and keep it in your trunk. Make sure you include: a flashlight with fresh batteries, jumper cables, something to provide traction (sand, kitty litter, an old floor mat or rug), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, some kind of warning device (i.e. flares), and blankets.
Never warm up your vehicle in an enclosed space. If you park in a garage, be sure to open the door before starting your car. Dangerous and deadly exhaust fumes can build up quickly in small spaces.
While you’re driving:
Driving distracted is never a good idea, but it’s an especially bad idea in inclement weather. Keep your phone stashed in the console and both hands on the wheel!
Safe following distance doubles in bad weather, so make sure you are keeping a distance of 8-10 seconds behind the car in front of you. Give yourself extra maneuvering time when there is any precipitation on the roads.
Go slowly! Snow and ice make accelerating and decelerating harder, and slamming your foot on the gas or brake can make you skid or make your tires spin.
Cruise control is not your friend in snowy or icy weather.
Always look and steer into the direction you want to go. And, if you’re skidding, steer into the skid rather than out of it.
After you arrive:
Relax and enjoy a warm cup of cocoa with your loved ones.