Winter Car Safety Checklist

snow car

Winter driving can often be unpredictable and change in the blink of an eye. A seemingly sunny day can turn dark and stormy, leaving you in harrowing driving conditions. It’s important to be prepared for hazardous driving conditions even if you don’t expect them. Here is a checklist of safety preparations you should make so you can safely get yourself from A to B this winter season.

Before the storm hits

 

It’s a good idea to get some things ready in the summer or fall so you don’t have to scramble when the bad weather hits. Here are some things you can do in advance to prepare for winter driving:

  • Have your battery checked and replaced if necessary.
  • Check your belts to make sure they’re not cracked or fraying.
  • Check the hoses in your engine to make sure they’re not brittle or leaking.
  • Check the tread on your tires and consider investing in some snow tires or all-season tires that will handle snowy or slippery roads well.
  • Check your tire pressure, because the pressure will drop with the temperature. Properly inflated tires are important for maintaining good traction.
  • Coolant levels should also be checked when the engine is cold. You can pick up an inexpensive tester to check the level of antifreeze protection at any auto parts store.
  • Make sure all lights are working properly and replaced if any bulbs are burnt out.
  • Check that your wiper blades are working and thorough in their wiping abilities. You can buy rubber boots to put around them to prevent ice or snow from building up on them.
  • Refill the wiper fluid if necessary so you can keep your windshield clean after dirty precipitation falls on it.
  • Have your brakes professionally checked to make sure they’re fully functional. Have the brake fluid checked and refilled, as well.

Items to keep in your car

In the event that you are affected by hazardous winter driving conditions, there are a few things you should keep with you to help get you out of a bind. These include:

  • Ice scraper
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • A spare tire and tire-changing tools
  • A snow shovel and salt/kitty litter to help if you get stuck
  • Reflectors or flares so you’re visible if you do run off the road
  • Jumper cables
  • Tool kit
  • Emergency survival kit, including blankets, nonperishable food, first aid kit, and warm clothing

In the midst of winter

When winter arrives and you inevitably must come face-to-face with the snowy and icy roads, there are still additional measures you can take to ensure your travels are safe. Here are some safe-driving practices that will help you stay safe on the road:

  • Plan ahead. If you can avoid the storm by running your errands on another day, plan for that. Checking the forecast alone can save you a lot of grief.
  • Warm up the car
  • If your trip is long or outside of your usual route, tell someone where you’re going and check-in so somebody is aware if something goes wrong.
  • Don’t use your parking brake to slow down
  • Give yourself more time to stop and more distance from other cars to protect yourself if someone else loses control
  • Don’t use cruise control
  • If you do find yourself stranded, stay in your car to keep warm.
  • Always keep your gas tank at least half-full

Even if you follow every tip and precaution, accidents can and do happen. The best protection for winter driving is a good auto insurance policy. For more information on how to keep safe this winter on the road, talk to the professionals at Heuer Insurance Agency today.

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