Driving in unpredictable winter weather can be frustrating and anxiety-inducing. Of course, it can also be dangerous. Before you hit the road this winter, consider these safety tips to keep you and your passengers safe.
Prepare Your Vehicle
It is important to prepare your vehicle before driving in winter weather. In addition to routine maintenance, winterize your vehicle by doing the following:
· Test your battery (power decreases when temperatures drop).
· If you are driving in snow or ice, have tires with deeper tread installed.
· Regularly check your tire pressure (pressure decreases as temperatures drop).
· Make sure your windshield wipers are in good working order.
· Use wiper fluid that is rated for cold weather.
· Make sure your gas tank stays at least half full to avoid the line freezing.
· Check for recalls on your vehicle or parts before traveling.
Stock Your Vehicle
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends stocking your vehicle with a few particular items in case winter driving causes an emergency on the road. These items include:
· Snow shovel
· Ice scraper
· Sand or kitty litter (in case you get stuck)
· Jumper cables
· Flashlight and flares
· A bright colored blanket or flag
· Bottled water and snacks
· Cell phone with charger
· First-Aid kit
Prepare for Your Drive
Before you hit the road, consider these safety tips:
· Remove snow, ice or dirt from mirrors, lenses and sensors.
· If you are heating up your vehicle before driving, make sure there is adequate ventilation.
· Never warm your car up inside a closed garage.
· Plan your route before leaving and allow extra time for weather-related delays.
Remembering these safety tips can help you stay safe while traveling this winter. Of course, always remember to obey traffic laws, avoid distractions, get plenty of rest and never drive after consuming alcohol.