It’s no secret that winter weather can make driving a lot more dangerous than it is during other times of year. Luckily, you can guard against many risk factors by preparing accordingly. Even though it’s still important to know what to do after a car accident if something does happen, taking preventative measures will help you avoid running into trouble on the road.
Specifically, take the following steps now to ensure your vehicle is ready for the season. Doing so will keep you a lot safer behind the wheel.
Create a Supply Box
Don’t get stranded in the middle of a snowstorm without the right supplies. Store a box in your car with a flashlight, road flares, warm clothes, gloves, a first-aid kit, and an ice scraper. You may also want to store food, like nuts and granola, as well as a palette of water bottles, in case you are stuck for longer than expected. Ideally, you won’t need these items, but it’s important to have them on hand if you ever do.
It’s also smart to ensure your phone is thoroughly charged whenever you’re driving. If you need to call for help, you’ll need your phone to be charged. Consider keeping a battery powered phone charger in your car, too.
Check Tire Pressure & Tread
Cold temperatures reduce tire pressure. Check yours regularly to ensure it’s at the manufacturer-recommended levels.
You should also check the tread depth of your tires. Proper tread depth ensures your tires grip the road. In icy or snowy conditions, this is particularly important.
All you need to check tread depth is a penny. Insert it into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see Lincoln’s head, you need new tires for winter.
Check Antifreeze Levels
Antifreeze does exactly that the name implies: protect your engine from freezing in cold weather conditions.
Your owner’s manual will typically provide instructions for checking antifreeze levels. You can also buy kits or consult with experts to help check your antifreeze. If it’s below the suggested levels, refill it.
Change Your Wiper Fluid
Some types of wiper fluid can freeze during winter. If this happens, you’ll struggle to see what’s in front of you while driving.
Head to an auto parts store and ask for a winter-friendly wiper fluid instead. Winter fluid won’t freeze, and it’s designed to help clear away snow and ice.
Switch to a Different Oil
Low viscosity oil is better for your vehicle in cold weather. The first number in your oil grade indicates the viscosity. For example, 5W-30 oil is less viscous than 10W-30 oil.
Schedule an oil change before winter starts and use a lower viscosity oil than you normally do to ensure your engine remains thoroughly protected during the colder months.
Again, staying safe on the road this winter is a lot easier when you prepare ahead of time. These steps will help.
READ MORE: How to Safely Dispose of Antifreeze