Winter Preparations for Your Vehicle
Driving during the winter months in most locations of the United States means that you’ll most likely be driving in snow, sleet and or ice for several months. Driving in these conditions leads to hazardous road conditions, slower traffic and dangers that may not be visible. First Aid and Safety Online has put together some tips that will help you to be more prepared for the winter driving months
Tips to help prepare your car for winter:
- Antifreeze levels - ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system - should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
- Brakes - check for wear and fluid levels.
- Exhaust system - check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
- Fuel and air filters - replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Heater and defroster - ensure they work properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights - check for serviceability.
- Oil - check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
- Thermostat - ensure it works properly.
- Windshield wiper equipment - repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
- Install good winter tires - Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
- Be sure that your gas tank is always close to full as you never know when you may be stranded on the highway or an extended length of time
Handy items to have in your vehicles:
- Spare tire that is properly inflated along with a jack and wrench to remove/ replace the tire
- Air compressor or a can of fix-a-flat
- Jumper cables
- Tow rope as well as tire chains
- Folding shovel
- Bag of salt and or cat litter to provide traction if you become stuck in bad weather
- Warm gloves
- Set of basic tools
Other supplies that may come in handy:
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Emergency Warning Triangles, flares and or a bright colored bandana
- First aid kit with an assortment of bandages, ice pack and other first aid supplies that you may need in case of an emergency.
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Power stick to power up your cell phone (be sure the power stick has a full charge)
- High energy food such as granola bars, dried fruits, protein bars or other non- perishable foods.
- Blanket or mylar blanket that will help to hold in heat
- Socks, cap and gloves
- Rain coat
- If you find yourself stranded in your vehicle:
- Do not leave your car unless you are certain you will improve your current situation and if you know exactly where you are and how far it is to get help
- To attract attention use the emergency warning triangles or a brightly colored bandana tied to your vehicle’s antenna
- Turn your engine on for about 10 minutes every hour to heat your car’s interior up. Only do this if you are certain that the car’s exhaust pipe is not blocked
- Protect yourself from hypothermia and or frost bite by using a mylar blanket and heavy blanket over that to keep you warm. The mylar blanket will use your bodies heat to keep you warm.
- If it is snowing heavy, keep at least one window cracked as heavy snow can seal a car shut.
We recommend carrying a fully stocked emergency survival kit such as our Urban road warrior kit which contains all of the needed items in one handy back pack. This kit contains items such as jumper cables, auto spot light, tow rope, light sticks, mylar blanket, flat tire fixer, leather work gloves, emergency warning triangle, help sign, Swiss style army knife, flashlight and of course a handy vehicle first aid kit to care for any first aid emergency that may arise. We also offer a high visibility incident unit that also contains items needed to ensure that your vehicle is visible even in low light situations. Last but not least we carry inexpensive Roadside Emergency Kits that contain jumper cables, flashlight, fuse tester, screwdriver, rain coat, work gloves and more.
Driving during winter months is unavoidable especially if you live in the northern parts of the United States. By ensuring that you are prepared for a road side emergency you will feel more confident and be able to take care of most any emergency that may happen while you are on the road.
If you are from the southern states, but plan on driving the visit family or for business during the winter months it is imperative that you are prepared as well. Driving on snow and or ice is not something to take lightly. Be sure that your vehicle is well maintained, that you have the essentials to keep you safe on the road and most importantly- slow down and be careful!