Cold Weather Driving and Maintenance Tips
Keeping safe when the temperatures begin to drop
Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can have a substantial effect on our daily lives. In the same way the current season might change your wardrobe choices or what yard work needs to be done, it would be wise to prepare for the effects of winter weather on your automobile. Below are a couple of quick tips for keeping you safe and avoiding unnecessary damage to your car.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated, and top off all fluid levels.
- Check belts and hoses for signs of wear and tear, and have them replaced if needed.
- If snow is particularly prevalent where you live, consider investing in a set of tire chains or snow tires.
- Keep your gas tank at least half-full in colder temperatures to avoid gas line freezing.
- Never warm up your car in an enclosed area, such as a closed garage door. The fumes can cause you and your family serious injury, even death.
- Watch the weather reports for the chance of snow or ice. Delay or avoid trips when the weather is going to be particularly bad.
- Keep your cell phone charged in case you need to call for help in an emergency.
- Make an emergency pack to keep in your trunk in case you become stranded. Helpful items would include: blankets; gloves; hats; flashlight; and non-perishable food.
- Stay with your vehicle if it becomes stranded or trapped. In severe weather, you are at a greater risk for becoming lost. Your vehicle can provide both shelter from the elements and may be easier for rescuers to spot.
- Try and prevent your exhaust pipe from clogging with snow or ice. If clogged, it could cause carbon monoxide to leak into the passenger compartment.
Driving in snowy and icy conditions is much more treacherous. If you can, avoid unnecessary trips, and remember the following:
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. This will help you keep your traction on the road.
- Drive slower than you would in warmer temperatures. Give yourself extra time and space to slow or come to a stop.
- Use your inertia. Accelerating up a hill may cause your wheels to spin on the snow. Stopping on an icy incline may make starting back up difficult. Rather, try to keep your speed consistent.
- No matter how confident you are in your own driving skills, remember that others on the road may still lose control and cause you to wreck.
With these tips in mind, stay warm and prepare for a fun but safe winter.