Winter may still be a few weeks away, but for most places around the country– it’s already here. The holiday season is around the corner, and that means a lot of traveling for families all over the country. Although falling snow and wintry-white-tree-lined roads can be picturesque, winter weather creates slippery and dangerous driving conditions. We offer a couple of vehicle tips to stay safe while you’re on the road this holiday season and all winter long.
Winterize Your Vehicle
The first step in winter road safety is preparing your car for winter weather. Start by getting a tune-up and be sure to check the battery levels in your vehicle. Check and/or change your headlights, taillights, and turn signals as these lights are very important to driving safely all year round. Check your tire tread and wear– remember that minimum tread for adequate traction is 1/16”! Keep a spare tire in your trunk in case of an emergency. Finally, ensure that your washer blades are in good working condition and that you have plenty of windshield wiper fluid because we all hate being stuck behind that big 18-wheeler throwing dirty, salty snow up at our windshield.
Winter-Wise Driving Tips
Before you head out on the road, keep tabs on your local weather report. Allow time in your schedule for bad weather delays and traffic. While driving in unfavorable conditions, keep a distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you to allow for safe breaking. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the safety features in your car like 4-wheel drive, ABS, etc.
Keep your vehicle clear of snow and ice, don’t be that person on the highway with snow chunks blowing onto the cars behind you– it’s dangerous! Also, drive with extreme caution while on bridges and overpasses during freezing temperatures. These structures can be 5-6 degrees colder than roadways and can become icy before the roads do.
Emergency Supplies Checklist
Be prepared by including these supplies in a winter emergency kit: 2 blankets or a sleeping bag, flashlight and batteries, jumper cables, sand for traction in case your vehicle gets stuck, warm extra clothing, bottled water, energy bars, first-aid kit and necessary medications, and a cell phone with its charger (but we usually always have that don’t we?!).
Stranded on the Road Survival Tips
Just in case you do get stuck while traveling, our best advice is to remain with your vehicle. If nothing else, you are guaranteed shelter. Some other survival tips include: Keeping the exhaust pipe clear of snow (you don’t want poisonous gases coming into the car), light a flashlight in the car to let others know you are stranded, don’t eat snow because it will chill you– drink bottled water and remain calm because chances of someone seeing you at your car are very good.
For more holiday safety tips check out our post on traveling with pets. Auto Action’s Arizona used car dealers encourage you to drive safely while on the road this holiday season. Are you traveling this year and do you have winter safety tips you can share?