Winter is here and for many this means having to get into their cars and travel for work or for pleasure. Since it is the holiday season, a lot of people have to travel to faraway places. And sometimes they have to drive through the snow to get there. Hazardous road conditions are accidents waiting to happen, which is why caution is advised when you drive during such times. But as important as what you do when you are on the road, part of defensive driving is what you do beforeyou embark on your trip. Here are a few winter driving tips to keep in mind.
Prepare an emergency kit for your car
It is impossible to know what Mother Nature has in store for us, which is why you should prepare an emergency kit just in case. You winter kit should include:
- Flares: If you are on the side of the road you need to safely signal other cars of your predicament to avoid collisions.
- Flashlight: Pack this with extra batteries and keep it in your glove compartment.
- Snow shovel: Useful for when you need to dig your car out of the snow.
- Heavy blanket/sleeping bag: For the unlikely scenario in which you have to stay in your car for a while, a heavy feather down blanket or sleeping bag will keep you warm.
- First aid kit: You can buy one or make one yourself but make sure it contains bandages, rubbing alcohol, and other necessities.
- Water: Hydration is important so make sure to have this in your car as part of your emergency kit.
Check your antifreeze
Antifreeze is necessary to prevent water from freezing within your car’s radiator and engine when the weather turns cold. If you have not already, take your car to an auto maintenance shop and have the coolant system flushed and then have fresh antifreeze installed into the car. It also helps to check the coolant system for any leaks. Besides the antifreeze, it is best to check all of your cars liquids and top them off as needed.
Inspect your windshield wipers
And replace as needed. This is the cheapest and easiest car maintenance step you can perform on your own. Snow – and rain as well – can accumulate on your car’s window and old wiper blades just will not do the trick. In fact, they can make things worse by leaving streaks on the windshield, obscuring your view of the road even further. While you are at it, top off your wiper fluid with one that has antifreeze added to it. Being a careful driver means being prepared with a contingency during inclement weather. Keep these tips in mind the next time you hit the road.