Winter has come and being at the end of January I feel like we’ve gotten off easy so far. (I just knocked on wood ? There have been few days that the commutes were heavily affected by the weather. My question for you is, were you or your car prepared? Read on to find out what the 3 P’s are, what should be in your winter survival kit, and what you should be doing for your car to keep it healthy. Also to find your Winter Newsletter Specials!
Safe Winter Driving
The three P’s
There are numerous ways to prepare yourself and your car for driving in our winter conditions. It can be scary out there during a blizzard or ice storm and number one is to stay off the roads if possible. If you must be out there here’s how you can be prepared.
- During the winter (anytime really) make sure your car is well maintained. Check the battery, tire tread and pressure, and windshield wipers. Keeping your windows clear is important and having good and efficient wipers can help that. Also check fluid levels, washer fluid and anti freeze especially.
- Plan your route and and let someone know what it is.
- Have a winter survival kit in your car.
- Practice winter driving: during the daylight find a secluded spot and rehearse maneuvers. Steer into a skid, know what your brakes feel like, notice stopping distances in dry, snowy, or icy conditions.
- Buckle Up
- Children 12 and under are safest in the back seat
- Rear facing infant seats should NEVER be in front of an air bag
Slow down and increase distance between cars!
- Be sure all exterior lights (blinkers, tail lights, brake lights, headlights, ect.) are working and your headlights are clear. The plastic on your headlights can become worn making them dim. They can be buffed to fix this problem.
- Be aware of all surroundings checking mirrors frequently.
- Avoid fatigue
- Plan ahead- do not drink and drive, designate a sober driver if needed.
Winter Survival Kit
Should something happen while driving in poor conditions having these items on hand could be life saving or just make the experience a little less horrible
- booster cables
- bag of sand, cat litter, or salt
- small snow shovel
- snow brush/ice scraper
- flashlight and extra batteries
- washer fluid
- gloves or mittens
- cloth or paper towels
- warning flares or triangles
- cell phone and charger
- battery powered radio
- snack food (energy bars, raisins)
- matches and small candles
- first aid kit
Prepping the car
Winter has already started but if you haven’t had your car prepped for winter it’s not too late. Things to check:
- fluid levels
- Tire tread
- heat and defrost
- wiper blades
Things to check frequently during the winter
- Snow in the wheel wells- this can cause a shake or vibration while driving either wash your car to get it out or kick it out, BUT be careful you don’t break something when kicking it. Plastic breaks very easily when cold.
- Salt on your car- The salt on our roads can cause vehicles to rust prematurely, wash it often during the winter
- tire pressure-tire pressure can affect steering, handling, gas mileage, and the life of the tires. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops the tire pressure (psi=pounds per square inch) drops 1-2 pounds. So here we should be checking tire pressure frequently using the psi on the cars door jamb and not what is listed on the tire itself (this is simply the maximum amount of air the tire can hold) PSI warning lights on your dash may look like these.
- Gas level- Keep your gas tank full (or at least 1/4 tank), why? So many reasons why… fuel pumps and gas lines are expensive and running out of gas would be no fun especially when it’s cold, during a snow storm, or in traffic. As temperatures change during the day condensation forms on the inside of the gas tank and drips into the gas and finds its way into the fuel line. This accumulates and freezes then your vehicle can’t start. Running on empty also causes the fuel pump to suck in air and it can become hot. Doing this a lot can cause the fuel pump to wear prematurely.
- Washer Fluid Level- our roads can get sloppy and without washer fluid our visibility can be next to none. Dangerous!
- Oil- check your oil at least once between oil changes. Some cars simply burn oil or a leak happens and you don’t know; without oil in it, well it can be a costly repair or replacing a car