Take Advantage Of Winter Driving — 8 Simple Tips
Driving a car in any season can be hazardous, but the winter season can bring some special challenges that you need to be ready for in order to keep you and your family safe and sound while traveling.
1. Know that your car is prepared for winter conditions
- The Electrical System
If your battery is weak, cold weather will only make matters worse. Either charge it, or buy a replacement. Next check your ignition system very carefully while inspecting it for damaged wires. Also, look under the hood if you have a distributor cap, and make sure there are not any cracks in it.
Nothing is more crucial for safe driving in any season than your tires. If you live in area that only receives a light amount of snowfall and winter precipitation, you should be using all-season radial tires. If you live in an area that receives a large amount of snowfall, always keep tire chains with you. Always make sure they are inflated to the proper levels.
2. Know your exhaust system is safe
During the winter months, it is imperative to not have leaks in your exhaust system. If there are leaks, you stand the risk of being poisoned by carbon monoxide. If you wake in the morning for work, and there has been heavy snowfall the night before, make sure your exhaust pipe is free from snowdrifts. If it is blocked, carbon monoxide can be forced into the interior of the car.
3. Know that your windshield wipers are in good condition
Old or very worn windshield wipers should be replaced before winter sets in. Make sure the washer fluid you have is topped off with anti-freeze to make sure it is available during very cold days.
4. Know your fuel is at a proper level
If you face a long commute to and from work, it is important to always have plenty of gas. If you were to get stuck on the roads, your heater could save you from freezing to death, but it only works as long as you have gas. Never leave home or work with less than a half tank of gas, and really it is better to have more if at all possible. Keep track of weather reports and know when bad weather is coming so you can gas up when they are coming your way.
5. Know that your heating and cooling system is in good working order
Yes, your car can overheat in cold weather. It can also get so cold that it cracks your engine block if your heating and cooling system is not in good working order. Look closely at your radiator and heater hoses and make sure there are no leaks. Make sure your radiator holds enough anti-freeze to cover you in worst case scenario cold weather for your area.
6. Know that you have a complete winter driving kit
You should be ready to handle any type of emergency situation in the winter months. You should have booster cables, an ice scraper, traction mats, a snow shovel, flashers and emergency lights, and a blanket. Other items that may come in handy include a box of matches, and a first aid kit.
7. Know that you are prepared to drive in winter conditions
Now that your vehicle is for the most part prepared for winter weather, you need to prepare yourself to make smart driving decisions in less than optimum driving conditions. Before you leave, check road reports to get the latest conditions, so that you will know what you are up against. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination when conditions are bad, so you will not be tempted to drive too fast and cause an accident.
On cold and sunny days, make sure you wear a pair of sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection, as the sun can be low on the horizon during morning and afternoon commutes, making it difficult to see. Inform friends or family of your travel plans before you go. You should also make it a point to warm up your vehicle while you are in your driveway. This will reduce the amount of moisture that collects on the inside of your windows.
8. Know that you have your cell phone and that it is fully charged
This may seem rather obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget their cell phones, or leave home with them not fully charged. Always have your car charger with you just in case, and if at all possible, always charge your phone fully overnight.
If you follow these 8 steps, you will be prepared for whatever Mother Nature can throw your way during the winter months this year.