According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, there are 219,942 crashes due to snow from 2007 to 2016. This led to more than 54,000 injuries and death of 688 people.
What does this tell us?
Winter could compromise one’s safety, which is why it is important to customize your car according to the weather. How will you do this?
Adjust Your Driving Habits
Slushy and ice pavement led to more than 186,000 and 156,000 crashes, respectively. You can avoid that by being more mindful and adjusting your driving habits during the winter season.
Do not step on the gas pedal, minimize attempts to overtake, go slow around corners, and tap breaks when needed. Don’t forget to give space to other cars, preferably one-car length, to minimize accidents.
Schedule A Check-Up
For your car, that is.
Winter makes roads dangerous, which is why your car needs to be in great shape for added safety. Bringing your car to a licensed mechanic will tell you what parts must be replaced, ensures that your car’s fluids like brake fluid and oil are adequate, and get an oil change. Check and replace brake pads if necessary because you will be abusing this come winter.
These little steps could go a long way, so make sure you schedule a trip before the snow starts falling.
Change Your Wiper Blades
Apparently, wiping snow off your windshield is not the same as the rain. Before the winter starts, make sure you change your wiper blades.
Keep in mind that visibility is important to ensure one’s safety. Changing your wiper blades makes sure that you can wipe off the snow and still have a clear line of sight, especially in the case of a snowstorm. You can also go for winter-ready wiper blades since this is built to withstand harsher climate.
Check Wiper Fluid
Since you bought new wiper blades, make sure you check your wiper fluid as well. Full wiper fluid reservoir could come in handy to help wash away winter grime.
In case you live in areas where snow conditions are worst, consider getting wiper fluid with antifreeze properties. This way, you can still ensure visibility when you’re driving.
Get Snow Tires
Winter could bring about the worst road conditions. Therefore, you need to ensure that your tires are fit for the road.
This is where snow tires come in. They are made of softer rubber, thereby retaining their flexibility despite the cold. The tread patterns are also specially designed to grip into ice and snow, which also means more traction is provided.
What if you don’t want to get snow tires? Then that’s fine. What you can do is at least check your tires’ pressure. Keep in mind that cold weather causes air pressure in your tires to drop. Therefore, keep your tires properly inflated for safer traction when driving.
Another tip: Try tire chains instead of opting for snow tires. The good thing about tire chains is that you can remove it anytime so you don’t have to change tires every time the season changes. This is more practical too.
Keep Your Emergency Supplies Ready
You’ll never know what will happen during winter. You might be stranded on the side of the road or get stuck somewhere and towing services are taking forever to rescue you. This is why it is important to get your emergency supplies ready in case this happens.
Aside from your car covers or RV covers, what should be in your emergency supplies?
- Warm blanket
- First aid kit
- Bottled water
- Ice scraper
- Tow strap
- Food like crackers and biscuits
- Fully-charged powerbank
- Booster cables
- Shovel (to help clear path)
Funny? You’ll never know when this would come in handy.
Check The Car Battery
Cars come in different brands, models, and types. Do you know what’s their common denominator? Car batteries hate cold. When they feel cold, power is reduced by as much as 50 percent.
Before the winter hits, make sure to check and replace the car’s battery. If you can’t remember the last time you changed it, then it’s better to change it now before you even get stranded on the road.
Stock On Sand Bags
Don’t be surprised. Sand bags could be your best friend during the winter season, especially if you are driving a car that is rear-wheel drive.
A sandbag or two placed at the trunk helps distribute weight evenly over the drive wheels. This will give you more traction on the road and if worse comes to worse, they could be helpful when you get stuck in the snow.
The best part is sand bags are cheaper and available in any hardware store.
A Tank That Is Half Full
You might have a habit of filling your gas tank before it hits the empty mark. Unfortunately, this shouldn’t be a practice during winter.
Therefore, ensure that your tank is at least half full. Doing so prevents freezing of gas line. More importantly, if ever you are stranded, your engine will be the only thing to keep you warm until you are rescued so gas up.
Is your car winter-ready too?