Prepare Your Vehicle
In addition to the annual tune-up and maintenance your vehicle undergoes, there are more small things you can do to help winterize your vehicle in anticipation of the winter months. Below are a few tips to help you protect your vehicle:
- Test your battery; battery power drops as the temperature drops
- Check the tire pressure; tire pressure drops as the temperature drops
- Check your wiper blades and replace if needed
- Make sure the cooling system is in good working order
- Have winter tires with a deeper, more flexible tread put on your car
- If using all-season tires, check the tread on your tires and replace if less than 2/32 of an inch
- Add wiper fluid rated for -30 degrees
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze
Before Heading on the Road
Before starting your vehicle, there are a few things you should do to help you achieve safe driving. If there are any obstacles on your windows, mirrors, external cameras, or sensors, it is important to remove them before you get behind the wheel. Dirt, ice, snow, and general build-up can block crucial sensors that allow for assistive-driving features to work properly, such as automatic emergency braking. If your local weather forecast looks a bit troubling or like a storm is brewing it would be best to wait out the storm if possible. Of course, sometimes travel is unavoidable and if that is the case for you, share your travel plans and route with someone before you leave. If the weather is freezing, warming up your vehicle can help make sure everything is properly operating instead of rushing to run the vehicle that has been kept cold overnight. When warming up the vehicle, never leave it running in your garage – even if the garage door is up because the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning are increased.
How to Prevent a Car Accident
While driving on icy, snowy, or wet roads your full attention is needed. Avoid using cruise control while operating your vehicle as this could cause some unintentional steering motions to happen, like skidding. If you do happen to skid while driving, steer in the direction of the skid so when your wheels regain traction, you will not have to overcorrect to stay in your lane. Make sure to accelerate and decelerate slowly as to not cause any potential sliding or hydroplaning on the road. Increase your following distance to 8 to 10 seconds. If at all possible, do not stop when going uphill.
While driving, if the visibility is severely limited due to a whiteout, pull off the road to a safe place and do not drive until the conditions improve. If possible, avoid pulling off onto the shoulder of the road unless it’s an absolute necessity. Limited visibility means other vehicles can’t see yours on the shoulder.
Looking to increase your auto coverage this winter season? Contact your local agent for more information.