Preparing Your Vehicle For Winter Driving
Winter driving is inevitable in most parts of the country. With the winter season comes plenty of snow and ice, which hinder the driving conditions we are faced with, often resulting in more accidents. These conditions call for increased attention, caution, and preparation to help you stay safe on the road.
Driving in these conditions can be quite intimidating, especially for new drivers. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do before the snow falls to help prepare your vehicle for winter driving. These preparations, along with safe and condition-appropriate driving, should help you skate through the winter driving season without a problem.
- Have Winter Tires Installed
Winter tires should be the first thing you consider when the seasons start to change. A good set of winter tires will combat the snow, ice, and temperature exponentially better than even the best all season tires.
You will have increased traction in the snow, your stopping time will be severely shortened, and you will have more all around control over the vehicle’s handling.
- Create an Emergency Kit to Keep in Your Car
While you should have an emergency kit in your car all year round, it is especially important to have during the colder months. If you end up in a situation where you are going to be stuck in your car for an extended period of time, an emergency kit can make all the difference.
Include items such as a blanket, extra hats and mittens, candles, food, and first aid equipment.
- Buy Extra Washer Fluid to Keep in Your Car
It’s not news that driving on slushy winter roads means going through washer fluid faster than a kid goes downhill on a crazy carpet.
If you were to run out of washer fluid, you would not make it very far, at least safely, attempting to squint through the thick brown slush building up on your windshield.
Swap out your old wiper blades for a fresh new set, and always keep an extra jug of washer fluid in the backseat or trunk of your car for these lovely, dirty days.
- Have Your Car Taken In For Maintenance
Now, it’s important to keep your car maintained all year round, but at this time of year it is even more so. Making sure your car is in tip-top shape can help you avoid any unwanted situations.
- Get your brakes checked – with the roads being slippery, being able to stop quickly is even more important
- Ensure you are using the proper oil for winter – thinner oil (such as 5W30) circulates better in colder weather than thicker oil (such as 10W30) does
- Ensure your battery is in good condition – the cold temperatures are hard on a car’s battery, and having a car that won’t start is about as useful as having no car at all
- General Maintenance – make sure everything is in good working condition, such as your lights, heating system, etc.
Slow It Down
While these preparations make your car ready for winter, you need to be ready for winter as well. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the changes in driving conditions. Drive slower, give yourself more time to get places, stay alert, dress appropriately for the weather, and only get in the car when you need to.