Winter is on its way, and along with cozy sweaters and hot chocolate, it also brings the potential for slick roads and challenging driving conditions. The personal injury department at Pearson Butler understands all too well that crashes can occur when vehicles are not prepared for winter weather. To help ensure your safety and that of others on the road, we have put together a guide on how to winterize your car effectively.
- Check Your Tires. Tires are your first line of defense against slippery conditions. Consider investing in winter tires which provide better traction on snowy and icy roads. If that is not in the cards, at least ensure your current tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread.
- Battery Check-up. Cold weather can be tough on car batteries. Have yours tested to ensure it's in good condition and can withstand freezing temperatures. If it's older than five years, it might be time to consider a replacement.
- Windshield Wipers and Fluid. Visibility is crucial, especially during snowfall or sleet. Replace worn-out wipers, and always use a windshield washer fluid that's rated for winter use.
- Antifreeze Levels. Antifreeze prevents your engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Ensure you have the correct mixture of water and antifreeze in your vehicle and check for any potential leaks that could let it drain out.
- Emergency Kit. No one plans to be stranded but being prepared can make all the difference. Equip your car with an emergency kit that includes essentials like winter clothing and footwear, blankets, gloves, a flashlight, water, a spare phone battery, a small shovel, non-perishable snacks, and jumper cables.
- Keep the Gas Tank Full. In winter, it is advisable to keep your gas tank more than half full. This can help prevent the gas line from freezing and ensures you have enough fuel in case you're stuck or stranded longer than anticipated.
- Test Your Lights. With shorter days and longer nights, ensuring all your car's lights are functioning properly is vital. This not only helps you see but also ensures other drivers see you.
- Brake Inspection. Your brakes are crucial, especially when roads are slick. Make sure they are in top working condition. If you hear any strange noises or if your car is pulling to one side when braking, get them checked.
- Clear Snow and Ice. Before driving, always clear off any snow or ice from your vehicle's windows, lights, and roof. This ensures better visibility for you and prevents snow from flying off and hitting other vehicles.
- Slow Down and Stay Calm. Lastly, remember to adjust your driving. Slow down, increase following distances, and avoid sudden movements when steering or braking. Winter driving can be unpredictable, so staying calm and focused is essential.
While winter may pose its challenges, being prepared can make all the difference in ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road. From all of us at Pearson Butler's Personal Injury Department, drive safely, and always remember that a little preparation goes a long way.