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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.

4 Essential Financial Tips For Newlyweds

newlyweds

Being newly married is exciting, but the transition from single life to married bliss can be a bit stressful. Marriage means combining your life, home, and budget with another person—use the following financial tips to make the transition easier.

Communicate With Your Spouse

Communication is an essential part of financial success. You don’t have to get permission from your spouse every time you buy a cup of coffee, but you do need to communicate about your general finances.

  • Decide who will be responsible for paying bills like utilities, car payments, and rent. You don’t want to miss a due-date because you thought the other person was taking care of it.
  • Talk to your spouse before making major purchases like a new computer, sofa, or big-screen TV.
  • Have a conversation about your respective incomes and liabilities. Be completely honest.
  • Talk about your spending habits. If there are major differences, work on compromises together.
  • Set financial goals together. Talk about short term goals like paying off credit cards and long term goals like owning a home, retiring, or paying for your children’s education.

 

Evaluate Every-Day Expenses

Combining your lifestyles will change your every-day expenses. Don’t count on everything simply being double what you spent before. For at least a month, track your expenses closely. Pay attention to what you spend on groceries, fuel, entertainment, eating out, clothing, and household goods. At the end of the month, sit down together and evaluate your spending. This will help you set a budget and find places to reduce expenses.

Account For All Debts

It is important to stay on top of all your payments after you are married. Talk to your spouse about your debts and make sure you both know how much is owed, then decide on a payment plan. You may end up paying debts separately, or you may be able to consolidate some payments, but either way, it is important to account for everything.

Invest In Insurance

Don’t risk going without insurance. Unexpected accidents, emergencies, or illnesses can affect anyone. Talk to your spouse about medical insurance, car insurance, life insurance, and renter’s or home insurance. It is important to know what coverage you have as an individual and as a couple. You may be able to add a spouse to your health insurance to reduce costs, or you may find you need to increase your rental coverage to account for your additional property.

Keep the above tips in mind to avoid unneeded stress and conflict in your happy new union. Communication and planning can help you and your new spouse plan a path to financial success.