Winter driving tips
Stay safe this winter.Driving in winter conditions can be a stressful and dangerous event. Here are a few winter driving tips to help you stay safe.
Prepare Your Car
The first step in protecting yourself while driving in the winter is to equip your car with safety items necessary in case of an emergency. Make sure to have a first aid kit, a map, an ice scraper, snowbrush, matches, candles, flashlight, blanket, flares, tow and battery jumping cables, folding shovel, a cell phone, extra windshield fluid and even an emergency help sign to place in the back window when traveling in winter months. This may seem like a lot of equipment to have in your trunk, but if the unthinkable happens and you find yourself in the ditch in the cold weather, you'll be glad you were prepared.
- In the fall, before the snow falls, have your mechanic give your car a checkup to make sure that everything is in proper working order. If you skipped this step back in September or October, take care of it now!
- Install snow tires for better traction.
- Check the gas gage every time you drive. Making sure you have enough gas should be a concern in any weather but it becomes especially important in the cold. Running out of gas when the mercury dips can be a life-threatening situation since the engine will be your only source of heat. (Catution: In order to avoid inhaling excess fumes when you need to use the engine for heat, be sure to keep the window open a crack while the engine is idling.)
Keeping your fuel tank full in the winter is important not only for your safety but for the condition of your vehicle. Warmer daytime temperatures can cause the empty spaces in the tank to fill with moisture, which will condense as the temperature falls in the night. This water will sink to the bottom and will eventually rust your tank.
- Add gas line anti-freeze to the fuel tank when refueling in extremely cold temperatures.
- Check the windshield washer fluid. Driving in winter weather often involves slushy, wet conditions and you will need plenty of washer fluid to clean the residue. In addition, make sure your wipers are in good shape and able to perform effectively.
- Check the local forecast for weather conditions and avoid driving if heavy snow or freezing rain is expected.
Following the above winter driving tips will help you stay safe on the road this winter season.