When you live in the Northeastern United States it is so important to winterize your car. Weather is unexpected. This week we are having unseasonably warm weather but it could easily snow 10 inches tomorrow. It is unpredictable. That is why it is important to have your car ready for winter weather before the big snow storm hits. You don’t want to be like me last year having to dig my car out from under a huge snow pile and have no idea where the shovels are!
Prepare for winter and check out these easy ways to keep you, your family, and your car safe.
Safe Driving Tips for Winter Weather
#1 Check your Lights
Check your headlights and break lights to be sure they are in working order. When it does snow don’t forget to brush off any snow that may be covering your lights. This is especially important when you are driving at night. The daylight hours are shorter and driving during the evening commute can be dangerous if your lights are not properly working or your lights are not visible to other drivers.
#2 Battery Check
A weak battery that may work in the summer can be more difficult in the winter. A simple volt test can make sure your battery is working properly. Your local auto store or AAA will often check for free.
#3 Coolant Levels
Coolant helps to keep your engine from freezing in cold temperatures. If you park outside during the winter this is really important. Have your mechanic check your coolant level to keep your car safe.
#4 Fill it up!
You want to keep your car’s gas tank full during the winter. A full gas tank helps prevent freezing inside your fuel pump. Doing this will keep you and your car stay warm if you ever get stuck. It is usually the days you think you don’t need to fill it up that the snow starts to fall. Be prepared and keep your gas tank full. Also don’t forget your washer fluid. The build up of snow and salt on your car can make for limited visibility on your windshields. Keep your front(and back) washer fluids full. Most gas stations sell washer fluid. As you fill your gas tank check your washer fluid.
#5 Tires & Tire Pressure
Winter tires are essential when living in areas that get cold. The roads are icy and slippery, winter tires can help with traction. They can also help with the cold temperature. During the winter months the temperature can cause your tires to lose tire pressure. Winter tires are less likely to do this because they are more flexible in colder climates. Your cars tire pressure keeps you safe on the road. Many cars have a light that will come on to tell you your pressure is low. If you have low tire pressure stop at a gas station that has an air machine and fill up.
#6 Defroster and Heater
Your defrosters and heater are necessary for visibility and comfort inside the car. Visibility is often limited during the winter and having your defrosters in working order can help ease that. Your family will be much happier in a warm car if you ever get stuck.
#7 Survival Kit
Although we don’t like to think there could ever be a problem it is always better to be prepared. Purchase a survival kit at your local auto store or put one together yourself using the list below. It is better to be safe and prepared then stuck in the cold. I have to admit I never really think about this, but after reading Autotrader’s tips it made me want to put one together for the winter…just in case.
While it might sound ridiculous for some urban drivers, motorists in rural areas might find themselves stuck on a deserted road with heavy snow falling and few vehicles around for miles. If there’s even some possibility you’ll end up on a road like this during the winter, a survival kit is a good idea.
Here is a good list to get your started on a Winter Survival Kit:
- first aid kit
- a knife
- jumper cables
- cellphone charger
- Snacks-granola bars, trail mix
- Water Bottles
- De-Icer Spray
Keeping your family safe and calm during a car emergency is the most important thing. Winterizing your car can help you feel prepared and ahead of any winter weather that may come your way. Having a survival kit will keep your entire family happy and safe this winter season. Safe travels!