This winter has been particularly harsh with the cold and snow. Your car needs to be mechanically fit and you need to be mentally prepared when you travel.
Your car needs to be winterized and running at peak performance for safe winter driving. Have a strong battery, fluids checked and full, fresh windshield wipers, and good tires for traction and control. Now is a good time to have all of the car’s systems checked before the first surprise snow and ice storm hit. Keep the gas tank full and your cell phone charged.
Always check the weather and plan accordingly – expect the unexpected. Program your car radio for traffic reports and emergency messages and check the weather apps on your phone. Let others know your route and travel times and give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination. Keep a minimum of extra clothing, a blanket, high calorie non-perishable food, and a first aid kit in your car. Depending on your travels, you will likely need to customize your survival kit.
Prepare yourself. Stay rested – stay alert. Driving in ice and snow requires you to be mentally alert and rely on past driving experience to analyze situations and stay safe. Visibility is often less, while reaction and stopping times are greater, during winter driving. Slow down, increase your distance between cars, and avoid texting and talking on the phone when driving in winter conditions.
Protect yourself. Always buckle up and make sure your passengers are, too. Slow down and leave plenty of room for snow plows to pass by, as they may cover your windshield with plowed snow as they pass, possibly eliminating visibility until your wipers can clear the snow. If your vehicle breaks down, pull as far off of the road as possible. Stay in the car and call for help. For road emergencies call 911.
Winter Preparation Tips
- Use non-freezing windshield washer fluid (orange, purple, blue or green); and keep it full.
- Check tires for optimal tire pressure and good tread.
- Allow the vehicle to warm up and clear all windows.
- Keep the gas tank over half full.