Have you taken steps to prepare your car for the winter? Winter conditions such as ice, snow, or sleet make roads slippery and difficult to navigate. Planning for bad weather is critical for safe driving. Prepare for the frost by performing all routine maintenance on your vehicle, checking your tires, testing your battery, packing in case of emergency, and adjusting your driving in dangerous conditions.
Perform All Routine Maintenance on Your Vehicle
Bring your vehicle to a mechanic to make sure everything is working properly. If you’re at a mileage point where a tune-up is necessary, get the tune-up before the cold weather starts. Cold weather can make existing problems worse.
Top off all fluids and install new filters as needed. Flush the coolant system and have a mechanic check the system for leaks or cracks. Mix antifreeze at a 50/50 ratio with water so that coolant doesn’t freeze in the pipes of the system. You can also install a block or engine heater to heat your engine’s coolant and help you start your car more easily.
Check Your Tires
Your tires are the best defense you have in dangerous driving conditions. Tires that are improperly inflated or worn increase your chances of accidents. If your tire tread is worn, replace them. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for proper air pressure in your tires.
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, consider purchasing tires specifically designed for snow or add chains to your tires. The added grip from special tread or chains can help you maintain control of your vehicle in snowy conditions.
Test Your Car Battery
Car batteries are just as susceptible to cold as the rest of your vehicle. A mechanic can do a test on your car battery to ensure optimum performance. If the battery is older than five years, replace it. Waiting until bad winter weather is not the best time to realize that you cannot start your car. Store jumper cables in your vehicle in case the cold affects your battery’s ability to charge.
Pack in Case of an Emergency
In the event that frost or an accident traps you in your vehicle, you want to make sure that you have supplies. Pack food and water as well as extra blankets, gloves, and socks. Traffic cones, flares, a shovel, and a cell phone charger are beneficial to keep stocked in your car.
Another way to prepare for an emergency is to make sure that if something does happen, you are still able to provide for your family. No one wants to consider loss of life or mobility in an accident, but knowing that your insurance policy will support your family should give you that peace of mind. Now is the time to check your policies and make any necessary changes.
Adjust Your Driving in Dangerous Conditions
A well-maintained vehicle is not your only defense against colder weather. Adjust your driving habits when you’re in snowy or icy weather. Because of decreased traction, drive slower than usual. If you need to brake, apply brakes slowly if driving over snow or ice. Aggressive braking can lock up your brakes and cause skidding.
The same method applies to accelerating and steering – increase your speed and turn gently to avoid spinning your wheels. Leave plenty of room between you and the cars around you and pay attention to your surroundings.
While cold weather brings many threats to your car and driving, proper preparation can protect you. Following these guidelines will help you avoid potential dangers while on the road this winter.