Snowy and icy roads are enough to make anyone want to stay indoors wrapped in a cozy blanket until spring. However, a little thing called life makes that impossible. There’s no need to hole up inside as long as you know how to handle the snow. These seven steps will help you prepare for the worst.
Get a Vehicle Inspection at the Start of the Season
Ideally, you should have your car inspected before the first snowfall, but if it sneaks up on you, get it to the mechanic as quickly as possible. They’ll want to run a winter maintenance inspection to check your battery, brakes, anti-freeze, and especially your tires. You’ll probably want snow tires to help you maneuver icy roads without skidding.
Have an Emergency Kit in Your Car
Don’t leave home without a preparedness kit in case you get stranded. You should keep a first aid kit, food, water, blankets, jumper cables, a shovel, and extra antifreeze in your car at all times. Such items may save you in a sticky situation.
Change Your Battery Before the Temperatures Drop
When the cold elements come and the temperature suddenly drops, it can do a number on your vehicle’s battery, especially if it is older. If you haven’t replaced your car’s battery in a few years, now might be a good time to swap it out so you don’t accidentally get stranded on the side of the road in a snowstorm. Also, if you are wondering how you can get more juice out of your battery, here is a good guide on how you can make a car battery last longer.
Understand How to Handle Slippery Roads
Keep in mind the proper way to handle your car if you lose control. Don’t slam on your breaks. Instead, take your foot off the gas, and turn your wheel in the direction you want to go. Once you have control of the car again, proceed slowly.
Be Aware of the Weather before You Go Out
Find out how the weather will be before you leave home, especially if you’re going on a long trip. If there is going to be a storm, postpone your drive if possible. You can also find road reports online that will show satellite images of road conditions, as well as alert you of road closures.
Don’t Overdo Your Vehicle Speed
When you come upon an icy patch, slow down, but don’t hit your brakes too hard. This will just put you in more danger of skidding. Make sure you brake and accelerate slowly to avoid fishtailing and sliding.
Ensure You Have Maximum Visibility
On top of the roads being far more dangerous to drive on, with many elements causing drivers to lose control, another reason that winter driving can be so difficult is that there are added impairments to visibility. Because of this, always scrape your windows of ice and snow before you start driving to your destination. Likewise, be aware that reflections off the snow can make it harder to see in daylight. Window tinting can help counteract this, just be sure that you know what the tinting laws are in your area.
Don’t Let the Fuel Tank Get Low
The winter is no time to let your fuel tank hover on the empty line. If you’re stranded, your car will be your only source of heat, so you’ll want there to be enough fuel in the tank that you can last until help comes. As a general rule, don’t let your tank get below the halfway mark.
Remain Alert at All Times on the Road
Studies show that drowsy driving can be just as bad as drunk driving. This becomes even more important during the winter when conditions are already risky. Make sure you get enough sleep before hitting the road and stay off the roads when you are tired.