Be Careful on the Icy Roads
We all know when the cold, icy weather is coming. Sure, there may be occasional unexpected snow storms in places that don't normally get snow, but if you live in snow states like Illinois, Maine, Wyoming or Colorado you know you're going to face snow over the winter months. Before the snow actually hits, take some time to prepare your vehicle for winter weather conditions.
Four-wheel or all-wheel drive only take a vehicle so far. Much more important is how the driver handles the car in and prepares the car difficult conditions, such as icy roads. 4WD and AWD help a vehicle accelerate but do nothing to help a driver stop or prevent skids. Use safe driving techniques, such as slowing down and using gentle steering and braking motions, to avoid winter car accidents. Before you head out, use these tips to be careful on the icy roads.
If you can afford a second set of rims, switching out your tires from all-season or performance tires to more aggressive snow tires is simplified. Even without an extra set of rims, it should take less than an hour at your local tire shop. Snow tires in the US have a symbol – Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake “3PMSF” – to designate they have met or exceeded the industry requirement to be a snow tire. Snow tires increase grip in snow and ice and are optimized for use at temperatures below 45° F. Some snow tires are studded with metal pins to increase traction, but local regulations may ban studded tires due to the damage caused to roads.
Windshield Washer Fluid
Visibility may be at a minimum and it's important to do everything possible to increase the ability to see. Adding ice-melting windshield washer fluid is a simple yet effective trick to make winter driving safer. Before you add ice-melting fluid, empty as much of the non-winter fluid from the reservoir and lines. Add the ice-melting fluid and spray the fluid until the old fluid is run out of the lines. Using a different color fluid can make this a simple task.
Winter Safety Kit
Add a winter safety kit to your vehicle. Include blankets, a flashlight, portable weather radio, tow rope, ice scraper and snow brush, candle, matches, a can of lock deicer and kitty litter for traction. Include some non-perishable snacks such as peanut butter crackers or trail mix. A good book to pass time waiting for a tow truck could be helpful, so could hand and foot warmer pouches, spare set of mittens and stocking hat. If you have an extra warm coat, put it in there, too. Keeping drinking water in the passenger compartment is also a great idea, but don't leave it in the truck or it will freeze. If your vehicle does get stuck, clear snow away from the tailpipe to prevent carbon monoxide from building up within the car and then stay in your vehicle. Winter weather is not the time to walk for help. Cuddle up in the blankets and warm supplies you thoughtfully prepared and wait for help to arrive. Even if you don't have a cell phone or are unable to use it, waiting in the car is always the safest choice. For more information on winter safety kits for you car, visit National Weather Service.