Tips for Preparing Your Car for Winter Weather

Winter storms increase the frequency of car accidents and are the number one cause of death and injury.

It's critically important to make sure you are prepared for the conditions on the road if a storm is moving through and you can't just stay home.

Heavy snow has the potential to strand large numbers of motorists on the road and the question is are you prepared for that?

Here are a few tips and a list of items you should have in your trunk during the winter season:

  • Make sure your car has gas, because if you are in standstill traffic for hours you want to be able to keep your car running as long as possible. You also want to prevent your gas line from freezing, so try to keep your tank at least halfway full at all times in the winter. 
  • Yes, you probably have a scraper, but do you know where it is? Make sure you know where the scraper is and grab a small shovel to put with it in the trunk so you are ready if you get stuck somewhere.
  • If you are stuck on the road for hours and your car runs out of gas, you will need blankets and warm clothes to keep warm, so make sure to have a small bag of those tucked away for that worst-case scenario.
  • A first aid kit and sand/cat litter are also important items to have in your car during the winter months.
  • When ice hits, you'll need windshield washer fluid to keep your windshield clean and ensure your vision won't be impaired during tough snowstorm driving. You should also replace your wipers each year, which is especially important during winter because worn blades can streak your windshield.
  • You should have a flashlight and radio on hand, both with extra batteries. Always remember to take your cell phone in the car, even for a short drive, along with a portable charger as well. 
  • You never know how long you could be stuck on the road - put some water and snack food in your emergency winter kit, plus paper towels and waterproof matches. 
  • Keep a set of jumper cables in your trunk, but never try to jump-start a frozen car battery! It could rupture or even explode. 
  • Never warm up your car in an enclosed area, like a garage. 
  • You should always keep your tires properly inflated. Underinflated tires can dramatically impact your steering and increase braking distances - critical on snowy, icy roads. 

Above all, be careful and be prepared.

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