Winter is upon us. No matter where your location, it is important to be aware of the extra precautions necessary for safe winter driving. From rain, sleet, ice, snow, and cold, winter weather is unpredictable. Often times, in the face of inclement weather, your best decision can be to simply, stay home. Weather and driving conditions that deteriorate so rapidly in just a few hours can also improve as quickly. Follow these winter driving tips from American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin for when you must drive is less than ideal conditions:
Before You Hit the Road
- Cold temperatures may affect the way your vehicle starts and runs. Check all of your fluid levels, such as antifreeze, and top off as necessary.
- Keep your gas tank as full as possible (at least half full). Empty tanks allow condensation and moisture into the gas lines which can freese making your vehicle difficult to start.
- Make sure your tires have adequate tread and are properly inflated.
- Prepare an emergency kit to keep in your vehicle. Include jumper cables, a snow/ice scraper, sand or salt, a shovel, deicers, a blanket, gloves and even boots. If your vehicle get stranded, you will appreciate the warmer clothing.
- Make sure your windshield and windows are clear before leaving your driveway or parking spot. You may be in a hurry but dangerously reduced peripheral, especially when driving snow may already reduce visibility, is an accident waiting to happen.
On the Road
- The most important rule to remember is stay alert and avoid distractions. Stay off your cell phone until you reach your destination, or pull into a parking lot if you must use your device.
- Give your car a chance to warm up. Cars are like people we need to warm up our bodies, and get the blood flowing before doing anything strenuous. Likewise, oil, needs to be lubricating your engines pistons and coolant needs to flow freely before you reach highway speeds. Why is this tip in the on the road section? Because you can conserve gas and warm your car up effectively by driving at 25 ‘ 30 miles per hour for the first mile or two instead of letting it idle in the driveway for five minutes. Moreover, idling in the driveway or parking spot does not warm up drive train components.
- All wheel drive (AWD) and anti-lock brakes (ABS) are no substitute for driving sensibly. AWD and ABS can help you maintain control but they won’t make you invincible. Maintain safe distances and drive at speeds appropriate for conditions.
- Should you become stranded remember it is usually best to stay with your vehicle until help arrives.