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Are You & Your Car Prepared for a Harsh Winter?

Photo by Devin Justesen on Unsplash
When it comes to snow and winter driving make sure your “vehicle” is properly equipped to handle winter conditions as well as “you” ARE!  Winterizing your vehicle and having appropriate supplies on hand to protect yourself in worst-case winter driving situations. 

According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration:
  • 1,300 people are killed and 100,000 injured on snow-, ice-, and slush-covered roads every year. 
  • 900 are killed and 76,000 are injured driving during times of winter precipitation (snow/sleet).
Safety during wintertime driving depends on your ability to maintain basic vehicle control (like braking and turning) and control during serve challenging winter conditions. 
Tire Pressure. 
Tire pressure fluctuates as temperatures rise and fall. A drop of 5 psi during colder months will affect traction, handling, and durability. Make sure your tire pressure is to recommended specifications and monitor the pressure “to spec” before winter begins, and plan to monitor tire pressure occasionally. Don’t ignore your tire pressure warning light if your vehicle is equipped with one.  
Proper driving position and posture.
Driving in snow and slippery road conditions require more driver engagement and control. At any moment, continuous steering adjustments and counter-steering measures may need to be required so the driver’s seating position and reaction ability is crucial.  
Be alert in turns.
Turns and cornering are the easiest locations to lose traction. Begin your deceleration and braking far ahead from where you plan on turning or navigate a curve while you’re still traveling in a straight line. Smooth on the gas and brake
Hard or impulsive pressure on the brake or accelerator can offset the balance of the car, which in turn could cause the car to slide and your loss of control. Let your ABS system do the work for some continued turning/manoeuvrability control.
Leave a bigger following distance.
Leave a considerable distance between you and any vehicle in front of you in the event you start to skid. 
Antifreeze Coolant.
It’s critical for the vehicle to have the proper antifreeze/water mixture to avoid coolant freezing or major radiator problems. Also don’t forget to check the reservoir to make sure it’s at the proper level. 
Windshield Washer Fluid.
Make sure it’s in working order and top off the reservoir often as you use it. Carrying an extra bottle is recommended since you’ll be going through significantly more washer fluid than usual. You don’t want to find yourself out when you need it the most. Driving without a way to clean your windshield is not a good practice.  
Wiper Blades.
Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition. It’s best to replace with blades designed for winter. 
Consult your vehicle owner’s manual and/or speak to your mechanic, but in particularly cold winter climates a thinner oil, winter-grade may be more optimal for your engine.
Have your car battery voltage checked. Freezing temperatures drain a cars battery power. 

Recommended Winter Car Essentials:
  • Ice scraper/brush
  • Flashlight
  • LED flares (battery operated) best or conventional flares.
  • A foldable/collapsible Shovel or a small fixed handle option. 
  • Tow strap best instead of a towing chain for weight and space.
  • Jumper cables or portable car jump starter.
  • Portable tire traction mats or old car floor mats if don’t carry tire chains. 
  • Bag of sand or kitty litter to disperse for traction when stuck.
  • LED flares (battery operated) best or conventional flares.
  • Heavy-gauge clear plastic and duct tape to block severe drafts or cover broken glass windows.
Winter Survival kit:
  • Blanket (winter appropriate). 
  • Winter hat, Boots and Gloves.
  • Hand & feet warmer packets or a tuna fish size can and candle to provide some level of heat.
  • Lighter or matches.
  • Car phone charger.
  • Water and high calorie/energy bars or small non-perishable foods.


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