These days, we get plenty of warning of impending snow and ice storms. Other than an occasional snow squall, we have plenty of advanced notice of winter weather headed our way. This gives you time to prepare your car. Make sure you have plenty of gas, your windshield washer fluid is topped off and suitable for temps below freezing. Have an emergency kit in your car specifically for winter weather.
We talk about go-bags a lot, so you should already have an idea of what you should keep in your car, but with winter weather a few extra items can be helpful. In case you get stuck: a small shovel, kitty litter and a broken down cardboard box. Quick trick: slide that cardboard under the tire that’s stuck, and you may be able to gain some traction! In a pinch, you can also use your car’s floor mat to gain traction under your tire.
In addition – make sure you have warm layers for anyone who rides in your car, hand warmers, mylar blankets, small throw blankets, extra socks, boots and waterproof ponchos, along with water and snacks. If you get stuck in your car, you want to have everything you need to survive the cold while you wait for help. Remember, you are your own first responder. Have what you need!
Here are some other tips:
- Warm your car up before you leave the house. This will help thaw any ice on the windows and make for easier removal. And let’s be real … it’s always better getting into a warm car!
- Give yourself extra time to get where you’re going. Leave early! Better to get where you’re going early, than risk an accident because you’re rushing to be on time.
- Always remove ALL snow and ice from your vehicle. In some states, it’s the law and you can get a hefty ticket if you drive with snow or ice on your car. There are several reasons for this. Any snow left on your vehicle can act as a projectile and hit the car behind you, causing damage to the other person’s car, or worse – an accident. It can also slide down onto your windshield and impact your visibility. And, removing all snow and ice from your vehicle will increase your visibility.
- Brake slowly. Don’t slam on your brakes, you’re going to slide if you do that. Instead, gently pump the breaks so your car can come to a slow and deliberate stop.
- Drive slower than you normally would and allow more distance between yourself and the car in front of you.
- Avoid dangerous routes. Plan accordingly, avoiding steep hills, curved roadways, and narrow streets.
- If you do get stuck on the road during a storm, don’t leave your car running the whole time. Five minutes every hour to conserve gas, and keep your window cracked a bit when your car is running. Check your tail pipe to be sure it’s clear of snow. You don’t want carbon monoxide to back up into your car while you’re stuck on the road.
Know your limits. If you aren’t comfortable driving in the snow, DON’T!
What tips do you have about winter driving?
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