Make Sure You and Your Car Are Ready for Winter Weather | Families
It took awhile, but winter is finally here. Gates Automotive Center and AAA want to help drivers get in to the winter mindset with the following tips to prepare for cold-weather driving conditions.
First, make sure your vehicle is ready for winter.
· A major contributor to most vehicle accidents is low tire tread. Be sure that your tires have adequate tread for safe winter driving.
· Have the battery and charging system tested. Batteries lose power as the temperature drops. Batteries can lose as much as 60 percent of their power at zero degrees. A fully charged battery is needed to start an engine in cold weather.
· Have the brakes checked to ensure they work properly, which helps prevent wheels from locking on slick surfaces.
· Make sure tires are properly inflated. Remember, air pressure in tires decreases one to two pounds per square inch for every 10-degree drop in temperature.
· Make sure engine coolant provides anti-freeze protection down to the lowest temperatures you are likely to encounter; -30 degrees Fahrenheit is a good guideline.
· Replace worn windshield wipers and fill washer reservoir with a fluid that will not freeze.
· Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to minimize condensation buildup that can lead to gas-line freeze-up.
· Carry a winter driving kit for use in the event of an emergency. The kit should include a small bag of abrasive material (sand, salt or non-clumping cat litter), a small snow shovel, a snow brush and ice scraper, a flashlight with new batteries, window-washer solvent, a cloth or roll of paper towels, warning devices (flares or triangles), jumper cables, water, extra clothes and a blanket.
Now that your car is ready; it’s important for you to be ready to drive in winter weather. Here are some tips for winter driving:
· Remove snow from the entire car so it doesn’t blow onto your windshield or the windshields of other drivers. Make sure your mirrors and lights are clean, and clear the tailpipe of snow to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the car.
· Stay at least 15 car lengths (200 feet) behind maintenance vehicles and plows.
· Watch for icy surfaces on bridges, even if the rest of the road seems to be in good condition.
· If you get stuck in snow, straighten the wheel and accelerate slowly. Add sand or cat litter under the drive wheels to help avoid spinning the tires.
· If your tires lose traction, continue to look and steer in the direction you want to go. If the drive wheels start to spin or slide while going uphill, ease off the accelerator slightly then slowly resume speed.
· When changing lanes, avoid cutting in front of trucks, which need more time and distance to stop than passenger vehicles.
· Don’t use cruise control on slippery roads.
· Remember four-wheel drive helps you to get going quicker, but it won’t help you stop any faster.
· Apply constant, firm pressure to the pedal on vehicles with anti-lock brakes.