As temperatures drop, we might not think about how to stay safe during winter storms. Here are vehicle maintenance and driving tips for staying safe on the road whether you’re going 5 or 500 miles away.
Car Winterization Checklist:
• Check battery, tire inflation, tire tread, and windshield wipers. – This will ensure that you don’t get stuck in the cold or snow, or are unable to drive because you can’t see.
• Install snow tires. – Snow tires are made specifically to help you get better traction in the snow, and will work better than all-season tires.
• Check antifreeze. – This one is especially important, as antifreeze not only cools down your car down in the summer; it helps to prevent the engine from freezing in the winter and is a key part of providing heat inside the car’s cabin.
• Change out summer windshield washer fluid for winter windshield washer fluid. – Winter windshield washer fluid won’t freeze in the winter cold. If you don’t want to buy more fluid, add 16 oz. of 99% isopropyl alcohol to 1 gallon of windshield wiper fluid to prevent freezing.
• For safety, and in case of emergency, keep these items in the car: working flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material for traction (sand, kitty litter or floor mats), snow shovel, snow brush or broom, ice scraper, deicer spray, ice melt pellets, warm gloves, flares, and blankets, food and water. You might also consider keeping a change of warm, dry clothes on hand.
Safe Driving Tips:
• Steer into, not away from, a skid.
• Brakes: stomp on antilock brakes, pump non-antilock brakes.
• Use studded snow tires or snow chains for icy conditions.
• Stopping distances are considerably longer on snow and ice, so make sure to give yourself extra room to be able to stop safely.
• Keep gas tank more than half full to prevent fuel lines from freezing.