Winter Driving: Preparing Yourself for the Cold Weather

Winter is a difficult time of year in a number of northern areas in the world, as freezing temperatures cause a variety of problems in occupants’ daily lives. Weather conditions such as freezing rain, sleet, and snow can be especially dangerous and threaten your safety when driving.

Roughly 76,000 people experience a car accident in the snow every year. This statistic underscores the need for safety precautions in order to keep you and your family protected from these risks. Beyond knowing what to do after a car accident, there are several ways to prepare for unexpected weather conditions. Here are some tips to have your car ready to go no matter the situation.

Switch to a Winter Windshield Wiper Fluid

Many people aren’t aware of this, but there are multiple types of wiper fluid intended for different purposes. Certain varieties are designed to freeze at lower temperatures than traditional fluids, making them especially suited to cold environments. You can depend on them to stay in a liquid form even in freezing weather.

If you’re using conventional wiper fluid during the winter months, you’re putting yourself and any passengers at risk. Your windshield will likely freeze and become opaque at low temperatures. Luckily, it’s easy to make the switch. Winter fluid is widely available anywhere that traditional windshield wiper fluid is sold.

Load Up on Supplies at the Beginning of Winter

Products and preparations like winter windshield wiper fluid can reduce the risk that you’ll find yourself having difficulties getting your car to work during poor weather conditions, but these situations are sometimes unavoidable. A box of simple supplies ensures that you’re prepared to respond to unexpected circumstances and keep everyone safe.

A typical set of winter car supplies includes a list of items to help you through a night and ensure that you’re able to call for assistance if and when necessary. Even in a worst-case scenario, you’ll be ready to stay the night and wait until the weather warms up the following morning. These are some common items people keep in their cars during the winter months:

  • Road flares to attract attention;
  • A strong flashlight to see in the dark;
  • Blankets and a second set of clothes for each passenger in case you’re forced to sleep in the car;
  • Calorie-dense foods like jerky, nuts, and energy bars to keep you going;
  • A battery to keep your phone charged in order to call for help in case your car breaks down;
  • A basic first-aid kit to take care of any injuries;
  • An ice scraper to clear the windshield when you’re ready to get back on the road.

 

Confirm that Your Car Is Ready for the Winter

We often take our cars for granted, and it’s easy to forget to check and address some common issues. Antifreeze, for example, is vital to maintaining your car during the winter, as is engine coolant. Kits are available at most auto stores to help you make sure these are at the right levels.

If you live in an area that experiences cold or snowy winters, it’s crucial to take precautions at the beginning of the winter season. These tips will help you get started and ensure that you and your passengers are safe driving through poor weather conditions.

 

Guest writer: Rae Steinbach