If you live in an area where Winter weather is an issue, you likely understand the dangers of Winter driving. Snow, ice, and freezing rain can reduce visibility and traction, making any road trip a risky excursion. We’ve put together a few tips to help you prepare for your next Winter road trip.
1) Buy Snow Tires – The modern snow tire offers so many advantages for cold weather driving, you would be crazy not to invest in some Winter rubber. The rubber used to make modern snow tires is designed to remain soft even at very low temperatures. This means that even in freezing weather your snow tires will remain subtle, providing you with more grip and greater stopping power – even on snow and ice.
2) Check Your Battery – Cold weather can make even a good battery dlow to crank and can cause a bad battery to fail. Scrape away any corrosion from the posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces, and re-tighten connections. Check the voltage to ensure it is above 10 when starting and above 12 at idle. If need be, replace your battery.
3) Check Wipers and Wiper Fluid – Wiper blades are made of rubber and will tear, crack, or tear even with limited use. Before the first snowfall, you should inspect your wiper blades for wear and replace them if necessary.
While you are at it, consider swapping out your regular wiper fluid for Winter fluid. Not all wiper fluids are the same and Winter wiper fluid will not freeze to your windshield and will help to loosen stubborn ice and snow.
4) Check Engine Coolant/Antifreeze Levels – Antifreeze is the magical substance that prevents your engine from freezing in sub-freezing temperatures. You can buy an inexpensive kit at most auto parts store that will help you to determine if you have the proper mixture for safe Winter driving.
5) Put Together An Emergency Kit – Finding yourself stranded on a lonely highway in a snowstorm is more than a mere inconvenience – it can be life threatening. Aside from a spare tire, jack and crowbar, flashlight, spare batteries, road flares and a basic toolkit can be extremely useful.
Your emergency kit should also include a warm blanket, Winter jacket, gloves, and a warm hat. Don’t forget to add a lighter, an ice scraper and jumper cables (a tow rope can be useful as well. If you have the room, include a collapsible shovel and a bag of rock salt in case you get stuck.