Winter is fast approaching. Winter means driving in less than perfect conditions, with snow, sleet and ice. Winter driving can be dangerous. Almost 70% of deaths that occur during the winter months are the result of car accidents. These accidents are caused by snow and ice. Helpful information, including these tips can improve your winter driving experience. It is important to review this before the snow begins to fall.
- Inspect your tires.
You should replace any tires that look worn out. Special snow tires or chains for your tires may be necessary. Snow tires are studded or have treads that are designed to grip the snow and ice. Even if your tires do not need replacing, check the tire pressure. Underinflated tires can interfere with the car’s handling on the road.
- Check your car’s cooling system.
Cold can make rubber brittle. This can cause cracking or leaking in parts of the car. Radiator and heater hoses are especially at risk. If the hoses are brittle or feel too soft, replace them. It is also important to flush out your car’s cooling system every 2 years. The system should be filled with a mixture of antifreeze and water to prevent the coolant from freezing in cold temperatures.
- Keep your gas tank full.
It is important to keep the gas tank at least half full during the wintertime. This will help keep the gas from freezing.
- Test your car battery.
Check your car battery to determine its charge. You should test your car battery if it is over two years old or if you live in a colder climate.
- Pack your trunk with necessary tools.
It is always important to have useful items in your car in case of an emergency. Be sure to have a shovel to dig the car out of the snow. A bag of cat litter is helpful to provide traction on snow and ice. If case your car breaks down, you should have a winter hat, gloves and blanket in your car to keep warm. Remember, the heat will not be working and you need to keep warm until help arrives.
- Always clean off your car.
Purchase an ice scraper and snow brush to clean off your car. Wipe off your headlights too. It is necessary to ensure you have maximum visibility when driving in the winter.
Tips for Winter Driving
- Allow for longer time when braking.
The roads are wet and slippery and your car will take longer to brake in snow than other conditions. It is also important to put less pressure on the brake pedal.
- Drive at a slower speed.
- When increasing your speed, do it slowly.
- Do not lock the wheel when braking.
Locking the wheels can cause the car to slide. If your car has an anti-lock brake system, then press on the brake and hold it down. If your car does not have anti-lock brakes, apply the brakes repeatedly to prevent the wheels from locking.
- Try to avoid any sudden action when making turns.
- How to correct a slide or skid.
If the back part of your car begins to slide, let off on the accelerator and turn your steering wheel in the direction of the slide. If the front part of your car begins to slide, let off on the accelerator and turn in the direction you want to go. Both of these tips should help to straighten out your car.
- Don’t think you are automatically safer because your car has all wheel drive or four-wheel drive.