Winter is finally here and although it’s late in most areas, It’s looking to be as menacing as we feared.
With the snow finally becoming a mainstay for the next few months, we are seeing a lot of accidents on the road that could potentially be avoided with a few tips and tricks for getting around. We will share with you a few things that we do that help us through the winter.
- Make sure you keep your gas tank full. When your gas tank is full it helps put extra weight in your car allowing it to move better in the snow. Keeping a full tank of gas also prevents your gas line from freezing which can be costly and frustrating.
- Always try to keep your tires the same. Often times people wear out their tires and don’t even notice until the first big snow storm and realize their tires need changed immediately. Winter tires can be costly and it is very easy to buy used tires to get you through the winter. Mixing tires can be worse than you think. If you do decide to replace your current tires with used tires or if you decide to just do a few of your tires to save money here is what you should do. Make sure the tread, construction and design are all similar if not the same. It is also wise to make sure they are all the same performance category with similar ratings and traction characteristics. If the tires aren’t similar it can throw off the handling and cause you to lose control and wreck.
- Make sure you have a good battery. Car batteries are not cheap, most of them are upwards of $100 but the winter is the perfect time to invest in one. One of the worst scenarios during the winter season is your car not starting or shutting off as a result of a bad battery. If you are like me and live in a rural area, having a bad battery is not an option because you could be frozen by the time someone could help you.
- Make sure your tires have plenty of air in them. The normal tire pressure for every automobile is different and can be checked in the owner’s manual, on the side of your door, or sometimes on the tire itself. It is important to keep the correct amount of PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) to preserve the tire and to have the best control in harsh road conditions. Tire pressure drops about one to two pounds for every 10-degree decrease in temperature. If your tire pressure is low it can cause problems with your vehicle, loss of control, and even bad gas mileage.
- Make sure you have good windshield wipers and plenty of windshield washer fluid. Not being able to see during a snowstorm is extremely dangerous, not having fluid can cause your windshield to freeze over causing you to wreck. Make sure your windshield wipers are turned off when you leave your vehicle, especially overnight. If you wake up to a snow storm and your windshield is covered in ice and snow your windshield wiper motor can burn up trying to move to the off position.
- Put bags of sand in the rear of your vehicle. By weighing down the back of your vehicle, you can really get an extra push through the snow that you may need. Start off putting a 20 pound bag over top of your rear axle. If you put too much weight in the back it will cause you to lose control in your front end.
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. When the weather hits unexpectedly while you are out and about it is very easy for your car to get stuck. Thankfully most of us have a cell phone now, so make sure it is fully charged and/or you keep a charger in the car with you so that you have the ability to call for help no matter how remote of an area you are in. For under $5 you can get a car charger that allows you to plug your wall charger in directly.
- Give yourself plenty of time. During the winter months it’s important to leave extra early. Make sure you take the few extra minutes while your car is warming up to clear your entire car, mirrors included of all the snow and ice to keep yourself and other drivers safe. Never speed no matter how late you are, black ice accounts for hundreds of wrecks each year and it virtually impossible to see until you hit it.
- Make sure you keep your car loaded with blankets, jumper cables, snow shovel, broom, water, food, and even extra clothes. Some of the things may seem a little extreme but it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially if you live in an area where snow storms are sudden and severe.
- Make sure you leave plenty of distance between you and other drivers. Chances are most drivers don’t follow all the safety and preventive tips we have laid out in this blog, so make sure you account for their mistakes. By leaving plenty of room you will help ensure your safety if there is a potential accident between other vehicles. Leaving plenty of room also takes some pressure off of the other driver and allowing them to think about their every move.
We hope that everyone is safe this winter and that these tips help you. While most of them are cheap or free they all take a little bit of time to ensure your safety. Don’t let the harsh weather cost you money or your life.