10 Tips to Keep Your Car Winter Driving Safe
As per the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 115,000 people are injured every year in accidents related to winter conditions like snow, ice, slush or even glare from reflection of the sun. More than 1,300 people die from the injuries that they suffer in those accidents. There are times when due care and caution for your own personal safety and the safety of others just isn’t enough. Sometimes, a motorist’s degree of caution needs to be ratcheted up a notch. That might still not be enough if you haven’t prepared your car to be winter driving safe. Here are 10 tips from winter driving experts for preparing and maintaining your car during the winter months.
- Tire Condition: The only parts of your car that touch the roadway are your tires. That’s why the tread on your tires is critical for accelerating, stopping and turning. Use the Lincoln penny test to check for sufficient tread. You’ll find it on the internet. Also look for cracks or cuts that might deflate one or more of your tires.
- Tire Pressure: When temperatures get below 32 degrees, tire pressure decreases. Deflated tires can decrease the degree of control that you have with your car. Check your tire air pressure once a week to make sure they’re inflated to specifications.
- Your View: Snow and ice can accumulate on all of your windows. Clear them one way or another before getting on the road. An unobstructed 360 degree view of the roadway. Is critical for not only your safety, but the safety of others around you too. A brass scraper is strongly recommended.
- The Heater and Defroster: If your heater isn’t working, ice will develop inside of your car like if you’re in an old Volkswagen Beetle. You don’t want to be driving and scraping your windshield on the inside at the same time. Make sure that your defroster vents next to the inside of your windshield are unobstructed too.
- Windshield Wipers: If your wiper blades streak during warm weather, they’ll be unfit for sloppy winter conditions. Wiper blades are inexpensive, and they’re invaluable for seeing the road ahead of you.
- Wiper Fluid: Replacing windshield cleaning fluid is cheap and easy. That fluid can be a lifesaver on days when there’s precipitation on the roadway.Make sure that the jets that wiper fluid comes out of onto your windshield are unobstructed too.
- Lights: Make sure that every light on the exterior of your car is functioning properly, including your emergency flashers. Clear snow from your headlights, fog or driving lights and brake lights before getting on the road. Clear your license plates too.Officer Friendly frowns on obstructed plates. So do traffic court judges.
- Safety Equipment: People get stranded in harsh winter conditions every day. A shovel, reflectors and even a piece of carpeting that can be used for traction should be kept in your trunk. A bag of kitty litter can work too.
- Change Your Oil: Dirty oil not only results in more wear and tear on your engine, it can make your car harder to start and warm up too. An oil change and new filter before and during winter months will get you and your car warmer faster.
- Your Battery: You’re not going anywhere with a dead battery. If you have doubts about whether your battery is going to make it through the winter, buy a new one. Even those can fail, so keep a pair of jumper cables in the trunk of your car just in case.
Any one of the above tips to keep your car winter driving safe can be the difference in getting to where you’re going safely and without incident. Just about all of the tips are inexpensive too. After you’ve prepared your car for winter weather, give yourself some extra time for getting to where you’re going, and slow down. Even the best personal injury law firms suggest that on some days, it’s better just to stay inside. Don’t needlessly endanger your own personal safety or the safety of others.