It’s been a cold, snowy winter so far in the Midwest, and unfortunately, there’s plenty of time left for more. With that in mind, the following tips can help you stay safe when you have to venture out in your vehicle in not-so-friendly weather.
When you park your car overnight or for an extended period, make sure your windshield wipers are turned off. In other words, don’t just turn off the car with the wipers running. Cold temps and precipitation can freeze them to the windshield and they’ll try to work when you start the engine, which can damage the wiper mechanism. If you expect foul weather, stand your wiper blades upright, away from the glass. Likewise, to prevent damage to the blades, and so that you can see to drive safely, scrape your windows before you head out.
Don’t have your car washed when the temperature dips down to the low teens or below. This can freeze the doors closed or freeze door locks.
A winter driving checklist should include a window scraper and snow brush, folding snow shovel, and sand or cat litter to spread under tires if you get stuck.
Always keep your gas tank at least half full so that you’re prepared for any weather-related traffic delays, and have your battery checked to make sure it starts when temperatures drop. Keep jumper cables in the car, just in case.
Check the air pressure in your tires monthly or more often in cold weather. Not only will driving on low tires result in unsafe handling, it can cause tire damage. Also, check your tire tread. As far as winter driving goes, there’s nothing scarier, or more dangerous, than sliding on an icy road because your tires have no traction. For some vehicles, a set of snow tires can make a big difference.