Winter, Your Car, And You
Driving in the winter means snow, sleet, and ice. This can lead to slower traffic, hazardous road conditions, and unforeseen dangers. To help you make it safely through winter, here are some recommendations so that you and your vehicle are prepared.
Weather ConditionsAt any temperature below -20 ° Fahrenheit (or -28° Celsius) has an adverse effect on the road and driving conditions. Make yourself aware of weather conditions prior to driving to avoid serious problems.
Your VehicleBefore you head out, start with a checkup that includes:
- Checking the ignition, brakes, wiring, hoses and fan belts
- Changing and adjusting the spark plugs
- Checking the air, fuel and emission filters, and the PCV valve
- Inspecting the distributor
- Checking the battery
- Checking the tires for air, sidewall wear and tread depth
- Checking antifreeze level and the freeze line
Your car should have a recommended tune-up (per your owner’s manual) to ensure better gas mileage, quicker starts and faster response on pick-up and passing power.
Necessary EquipmentAn emergency situation on the road can arise at any time and you must be prepared. Your trunk should carry:
- A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack
- A shovel
- Jumper cables
- Tow and tire chains
- A bag of salt or cat litter
- Tool kit
Essential SuppliesBe prepared with a fully stocked “survival kit” that should always remain in the car. Winter driving essential supplies include:
- Working flashlight and extra batteries
- Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth
- First aid kit
- Exterior windshield cleaner
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container
- Scissors and string/cord
- Non-perishable, high energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy
Additionally, if you are driving long distances under cold, snowy/icy conditions, you should also carry supplies to keep you warm. Supplies should include extra gloves, socks, a hat, and blankets.
If You Become Stranded
- Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help, and are certain you will improve your situation.
- To attract attention, light two flares and place one at each end of the car a safe distance away.
- If you are sure the car’s exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour or so depending upon the amount of gas in the tank.
- Keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow and ice can seal a car shut.
- Eat a hard candy to keep your mouth moist.