Driving during the cold winter months can have a hazardous effect on commuting motorists and their passengers. Even the most experienced drivers may find the simplest errand a tough feat, especially if their vehicles are not properly prepared for the challenging conditions winter often brings.
Safety and preservation of your vehicle during the winter months should be a top priority.
Start the season off right by winterizing your vehicle before taking to the road. Here are some helpful tips to help you arrive safely to your destination:
Traction is key: With hazardous winter weather ahead, now is not the time to ignore your tires. For optimum traction to navigate harsh winter conditions with confidence, consider installing a set of winter tires on your vehicle. Winter tires are typically designed with a specialized rubber compound that maintains its flexibility in cold weather. This helps the tire to adapt to the road surface and dig into snow and ice.
Temperature matters: Winter weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to remember the benefits of having winter tires. Winter tires contain rubber compounds for traction and grip in cold weather. Most tire manufacturers recommend that winter tires should be considered when temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Service your vehicle: Be prepared for what Mother Nature throws your way by making sure you have enough antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid. For a correct amount of antifreeze to withstand the winter temperatures, a 50/50 mix of antifreeze to water is sufficient. You can go through windshield wiper fluid in one snowstorm, so be sure to completely fill your vehicle’s reservoir before the first snowfall hits. It may be useful to buy extra, but make sure it is high-quality, “no-freeze” fluid.
Inflation is essential: Keep in mind that when the temperature drops 10 degrees, the air pressure in your tires decreases by about one or two PSI. Proper tire inflation is essential for vehicle stability, fuel efficiency, optimum steering, grip, wear and load-carrying capabilities. During these winter months, it’s recommended to check your tires’ air pressure at least monthly.
Practice makes perfect: It’s important to be alert when driving on snow-covered roadways because slush, ice and other hazards make it difficult to change lanes and handle your vehicle. In order to know how your vehicle performs in the winter weather, it may be helpful to practice driving techniques in an empty, open parking lot. Refer to your owner’s manual to fully understand your vehicle’s braking and traction control systems.
Stock your vehicle: No one wants to break down, especially in cold weather, so keeping a kit with essential items is helpful in case of emergencies. Some essential items to include are blankets, water bottles, a first aid kit, jumper cables, shovel/ ice scraper, road flares, a candle and matches.