More often than not, winter marks the most dangerous time to drive – and it’s all because of the brutal weather. Throughout the season, conditions can change quickly, with very little notice. Will you be ready when they do?
While it’s not quite winter yet, it could be time to start winterizing your car. Make sure it’s ready for the weather, and make sure you have any emergency items that could keep you.
Before the first snowfall or ice storm, follow this list of tips:
- Make sure your car has been recently serviced (like an oil change and fluids level check).
- Have your battery tested to be sure it can hold a charge. And while you’re there, see if they can remove corrosion.
- Have a professional check (and possibly replace) your antifreeze.
- As part of an overall inspection, check belts, hoses and spark plugs to help avoid a breakdown.
- Replace your wiper blades, and keep a spare pair in your car. Don’t forget to check your wiper fluid to ensure that it’s freeze resistant.
- Check your tire pressure. Many cars alert the owner when air is needed due to weather fluctuations, but it never hurts to keep a gauge handy. Your owner’s manual should recommend appropriate tire pressure for various driving conditions, and remember that cold weather can cause tires to deflate.
- on’t wait until the last minute to purchase snow tires, particularly if you live in rural areas where roads are less likely to be cleared.
- If you have 4-wheel drive, test it. Chances are, you haven’t used it since last winter, and you don’t want to learn about a malfunction during the first storm of the year.
- To the degree possible, maintain a full tank of gas, especially in freezing conditions. This may help to avoid frozen gas lines and other headaches. It may also keep you warm while you wait for roadside rescue in the event of a weather emergency.
- Pack an emergency kit for each car in your household. We recommend having these 14 things
- Flashlight (with spare batteries) – Because sometimes life’s unexpected moments happen in the dark.
- First-aid kit – Carry different sized bandages, antiseptic wipes, gloves, pain relievers, scissors, cotton balls, gauze and adhesive tape in your car at all times.
- Spare tire – Today, not all cars come with a spare tire, but an inflator kit instead. While an inflator kit will help repair a basic thread puncture, it may not come in handy if there’s a full blowout. So be prepared, and make sure you have a spare.
- Tools – If you need to change a tire, you’ll need a little bit of assistance.
- Car escape hammer – It’s small, but it could save your life. One end can be used to cut your seatbelt, while the other end can be used to break your window.
- Emergency warning triangle – In the event that you need to pull over for an extended period of time, pull off the road as far as possible. Then, place your emergency triangle behind your vehicle so other drivers have an easier time spotting you.
- Jumper cables – Don’t let a dead car battery leave you stranded.
- Smartphone charger – If your devices have died and you need to make a call for help, what would you do? A charger that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter or USB port is a simple, affordable solution.
- Owner’s manual – That is, if it’s not already in your glove box.
- Ice scraper – Keep your windshields and windows clear in the winter.
- Foldable shovel – If your car is ever stuck in the snow, you’ll be able to shovel your way out. Or, if you’re stuck in a hole, you’d have what you need to fill it.
- Blanket – Whether you need to spend the night inside of your vehicle or wait outside of it for help, a blanket will keep you warm while you do.
- Bottled water and granola bars – On the off chance you’re ever stranded, having some sort of food and water is always a good idea.
- Roll of quarters – Tolls and parking meters are common. But so is forgetting the change you need to feed them.
Last but not least? Talk to an agent to make sure your car insurance has you completely covered – all season long. We are here to assist you with all your insurance needs. Give our office a call at (248) 539-3003.