Tips For Winter Driving

Winter driving can be hazardous and stressful. Wind, snow, ice and blizzard conditions increase the normal dangers of driving. There is a lot you can do before the winter driving season and during a storm to protect yourself and your family.

Before winter arrives, have your car inspected to be sure it is ready for the road conditions. You can do this yourself or take it to a qualified mechanic. Check the battery, wipers and fluid, thermostat, brakes, ignition system, antifreeze, exhaust system, lights, oil level, heater and defrosters. Make sure everything is in good working order to keep you safe throughout the cold weather.

Check your tires to be sure they are road ready. Install tires that are appropriate for the driving conditions. In moderate amounts of snow, all weather radials will do the job nicely. If you live in a climate where you experience a lot of snow, consider snow tires. These have better tread to deal with snow and ice.

Prepare an emergency kit to keep in the back of your car. This will ensure that you are prepared in the event that you get stuck in the snow. Things to include in the kit:

Ice scraper
Small broom
Small shovel
Kitty litter or a bag of sand (to give traction if you get stuck in snow or ice)
Blankets or a sleeping bag
Flashlight with batteries
Flares or warning triangles
Plastic bags
First aid kit
Tool kit
Jumper cables
Bright cloth to use as a flag
Help sign for back window
Extra hat and gloves
Food and water to sustain you if you get stuck
A book, Bible or Prayer Cards to keep you busy and calm in the event you get stuck.
Charged cell phone (always carry this, especially in the winter)

Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times. This adds weight to the car and will ensure that you won’t run out of gas in the event you get stuck.

Driving in the Snow

Pay attention to the weather forecasts and road conditions in the winter months. If the weather is bad, stay home if at all possible. If you must venture out, travel in the daylight. You are more likely to find help if you get stuck during the day. Never warm up your vehicle in the garage. This releases carbon monoxide, which is toxic and can kill you.

When driving, always wear your seatbelt. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun reflecting off the snow. Know your car and how it handles in the snow. Features like traction control and antilock brakes can be useful in bad weather conditions. Know how these work and if your car is new, practice driving it in a snow covered parking lot before venturing out on the road.

Take it slow, especially in icy conditions. Don’t tailgate and be sure to allow a safe distance between vehicles. Do everything slowly, stopping, accelerating and turning. Leave plenty of time and space to maneuver. Sliding and skidding usually happen when turning, stopping or accelerating. Going extra slow will ensure your safety.

If the visibility is low, slow down even more. Consider getting off highways and driving even slower. This will take you out of the path of large trucks that can cause accidents. Use only your low beams, as your high beams will reflect back off the snow and won’t increase your visibility. Turn on your hazard lights to be sure other drivers see you.

In the event your car gets stuck, don’t get out. Put up the hood and tie your cloth to the antennae. This will make you more visible to emergency vehicles and other drivers. Keep the windows, air grill and tail pipe clear of snow. Wrap up in blankets and huddle up with passengers to stay warm. Run the heat for fifteen minutes each hour to keep from freezing. Move your body around to stay warm.

Keeping your car clean throughout the winter is important. Salt on the roads is important for safety, but will wreak havoc on the finish. If left on for long periods, it can cause rusting. Wash your vehicle weekly to remove salt and wax to protect the paint. Salt also leaves a coating on your headlights that can impair their operation. This will make you less visible to other vehicles. New Lite Headlight Cleaner and Restorer will return the lights to like new condition.

Winter Car Care Tips

 

The cold weather affects your car too. Along with making driving more hazardous due to ice and snow, extreme winter weather can be stressful, especially on older cars.

As winter approaches take your car to your trusty mechanic and have him check the following items: battery, wipers, antifreeze levels, heating system, brakes, defroster.

You’ll want to make sure your battery is fully charged as cold weather starting is a heavy drain on your battery. You’ll want to make sure that your windshield wipers are in good condition as they’ll get a lot of use brushing snow off, and, make sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid in the reservoir and carry an extra gallon in your car. Your windshield washer fluid will get used up quickly keeping salt off the windshield. You will want to make sure that your antifreeze is at proper levels. Antifreeze can prevent freezing of your engine to about 30 degrees below zero. It should be replaced every two years. Have your heating system checked, this will include your defroster, which you’ll really need during the winter.

Make sure you have good winter tires on your car. If you live in an area where you get a good amount of snowfall you may want to make a seasonal change from all season to snow tires. All season radials just don’t give you the same performance in snow and ice that dedicated snow tires do.

There are things that you should keep in your car during the winter. Snow scraper, deicer, blankets, extra hat and mittens, small snow shovel, sand (to help with traction), boots. At all times you should have a small first aid kit, booster cables, small tools such as screwdriver, wrench and pliers a flashlight with extra batteries, extra water. Keep a can of deicer in your home so you’ll be able to get into your car.

Remember before leaving home to make sure your car is completely cleaned off. Clear all snow and ice from your hood, roof, trunk and side. Make sure your headlights and tail lights are clearly visible. Drive slowly. The posted speed limits are for ideal driving conditions. When driving leave plenty of stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. You may need to leave more distance in icy conditions. Make any turns slowly. Brake slowly.

By following these tips above you can have a safe winter driving season.

Keep Your Car In Check This Winter

Welcome to Winter! Snow, ice, and cold can be especially challenging to the body and mind, as well as to important items in your life, including your car. Is your vehicle ready for winter? If not, there are some things you can do to help ensure that your car will start on cold mornings and survive even the nastiest winter weather.

Check under the hood. Make sure that your battery and all of its connections are clean and fastened; hoses and belts securely in place; your oil and oil filter changes up to date; your air filter clean; the radiator flushed and refilled; and your engine well tuned. One of the biggest contributors to a car not starting is the battery. If it is old and needs to be replaced, do it now before you take that long trip.

Look at the windshield. Besides obvious cracks in your windshield which you can have replaced, make certain that the wiper bay is free of debris. Ice and snow can freeze your wipers in place making them completely ineffective. Never pour hot water on a windshield to remove ice. You will remove ice all right and crack the glass in the process!

Observe the tires. Properly inflated all season tires are usually all that you need for winter driving. In some areas, however, chains may be required. Keep a set in your trunk for emergency purposes.

Carry an emergency kit. It doesnít take much to get stranded during winter. Even the best-maintained vehicle can get caught in a snow bank or stuck in a ditch. Carrying a fully charged cell phone for emergency purposes is essential when driving anywhere uninhabited. The following items should be a part of an emergency kit you have stored in your vehicle at all times:

*Flash light with spare batteries
*Jumper cables
*Tire chains
*Ice scraper/brush
*Sand or kitty litter for traction
*Auto tools
*Wire coat hanger
*Flares
*Candles, matches
*Distress sign
*Medical kit
*Gas line antifreeze; ice lock antifreeze spray

If you frequently travel back roads and find yourself in remote areas, carrying an extra set of hats, gloves, and coats as well as several blankets is wise. Some people carry chocolate with them at all times which can be a great [and delicious!] energy booster as well as fresh water [donít leave it in the car as it will get frozen].

If you find yourself stuck in snow, make sure that the exhaust pipe is free of all snow if you run your car while idling. Keep a window cracked open to allow for air to circulate; turn the engine off every ten minutes for a half hour or more to prevent carbon monoxide build up inside of the car.

You can survive the hazards of winter by taking a little extra care and caution. Properly equip your car today to ensure that your next trip is a safe one regardless of the prevailing road and weather conditions.

Winterizing Your Car

 

Depending on where you live, getting your car ready for winter may be a matter of chaining up your tires or simply flicking on the heater. There are some basic tips in terms of preparing your vehicle for winter that can help in most conditions, however, and can ensure that you can avoid those slippery moments on the sleet, ice, snow, and slush of even the harshest of winters.

The first thing you’ll need to do is be sure that your car has been serviced and has had its oil changed. It is always best to service your vehicle regularly. Have a full service done about every 30,000 miles or so, depending on manufacturers specifications. The best way to determine this is to check your owner’s manual for more information about oil changes and regular check-ups and servicing. As your car is being serviced, ensure that the coolant is flushed and the coolant is replaced with a product suitable for the environment in which you will be driving. Your car needs different coolant for winter than summer, of course.

Also replace the windshield wiper blades. Your wiper blades will be your best friend during those snowy nights on the road and you’ll need to ensure that you can properly see the road. Windshield washer fluid should be fully topped up as well and should be up to manufacturers specifications. Regular water can and will freeze, so avoid using water for wiper fluid.

The battery should be serviced. The posts and terminal ends should be checked by a professional and any water should be added if necessary. The battery should also be load-tested and its ability to hold a charge should be monitored. If the battery is more than four and a half years old, it is recommended to change it before the winter months strike.

Check your tire pressure. This will ensure that your tires have enough pressure to handle the road. Tires may become low as the temperature drops, as the air in your tires can contract due to the temperature. This is also a good time to ensure that you have a good set of all-season tires or winter tires with plenty of tread for the road. Also double check that your spare tire is, first and foremost, in the trunk and, second, filled with enough air. You should also have all of the proper tire-changing equipment in the trunk for effective servicing should you need to change your tire.

Check your lights, heater, and defroster for good, solid operation. Keep your gas tank as full as possible at all times so that you can give your vehicle more weight and so that you don’t run the risk of running out of gas in the middle of nowhere. This will also help prevent moisture from forming in the gas lines. Along with this, have your brakes checked by a professional.

Finally, make sure you pack an emergency kit for the cold weather. This should include a good pair of gloves, a warm jacket, a blanket, extra boots, an ice scraper, snow shovel, flashlight, and some kitty litter for getting out of slippery situations by providing traction. By using these tips, you should be able to survive the winter on the roads and enjoy a happy and safe holiday season.

Choosing Winter Tires For Driving

Choosing the right tires is one of the most important decisions we have to make in regards to our personal transportation. It is of utmost importance during the winter, when in many areas the presence of ice and snow on roadways creates a deadly hazard. It is not a difficult process if you have the necessary information.

The very first thing you should do is check your vehicle owners manual to find the manufacturer specifications for the types and sizes of tires recommended by them.

Next, mount the appropriate mud and snow tires on your vehicle to help guard against the slickness of winter roads, these tires can be used anywhere as long as they do not have metal studs on them.
If you live in an area where ice is common in the winter, be sure to use the metal-stud tires that are available and keep your other tires(if they are in good condition) for the end of winter season as these metal stud tires are only allowed during the winter season and are banned in 10 states.

Another key to remember is to make sure that all of the snow tires you equip your vehicle with are of the same size, type and tread. This is particularly important if your vehicle is front wheel drive where using mismatched rear wheels may result in a loss of traction when braking on the icy roads of winter.

When choosing tires be aware that equipping your vehicle with oversized tires that are larger than those recommended by the manufacturer make result in difficulty steering and can rub the fender wells or suspension underneath.

As a rule, snow tires are manufactured with large empty areas in their tread so that they will have more traction on snow than normal tires where regular all season type tires are more concerned with marrying a quiet ride with a modicum of traction.

Another time tested method that can be used when conditions warrant is the use of tire chains. Installing tire chains can increase traction as much as 200%. Again, make sure that these chains are of the right size and type for your particular tire as the wrong chains can cause the tires to fail.

Following the preceding tips will help you to safeguard you and your family in the upcoming winter season.