Severe weather is something that can be very dangerous and frightening for just about anyone. It really doesn’t matter how experienced you are, winter driving can challenge even the most experienced drivers. Because of this, you are going to want to be sure to have winter driving tips that can keep you safe while driving in unsafe conditions. Below, we will talk about some of the top winter driving tips to be aware of.
First things first – let’s get your vehicle ready for winter. Winter weather can be very hard on your vehicle. Prepare for winter by getting ready in the fall by getting a complete check-up on the following:
Your motor needs a well-charged battery to start in winter weather. Be sure to have your battery tested in the fall and spring. Replace weak batteries before they fail, or you might find yourself stranded on an icy road.
Replace torn ignition wires, cracked distributor caps, and dead spark plugs. Old ignition parts can make starting your car difficult or may lead to a sudden breakdown.
Make sure all lights are shining at full brightness and that headlights are properly aimed. It’s a good idea to clean your lights at least once per season.
Check for leaks that can potentially send deadly carbon monoxide into and around your vehicle.
Heating and cooling system
Check your radiator hoses and drive belts for cracks and leaks. Make sure the radiator cap, water pump, and thermostat work properly. Test the strength and level of the coolant/anti-freeze, and make sure the heater and defroster are in good shape.
Inspect your wipers to make sure they’re in good condition. If you don’t have them already, purchase wipers designed for winter use. Fill up on winter washer fluid that will work in the -40°C temperature range and put an extra jug in your trunk.
Check your brakes. Pulling, change in pedal feel, or abnormal squealing or grinding means it’s time to repair them.
Check pressures often, especially before driving on highways. Well-inflated, high quality winter tires will give you good traction on winter roads and will help increase fuel efficiency.
A tire with good pressure in a warm garage will be under-inflated when it’s subzero outside because tire pressure goes down in the cold. You should do your pressure checks when your tires are cold. Check your spare tire pressure regularly.
Four matching tires from the same manufacturer improves vehicle handling, so don’t mix tires with different tread patterns or size. Doing so can be dangerous, particularly in the winter.
On the Road
You’ve prepared your vehicle for the winter cold. Now it’s time to hit the road. Here are some winter driving safety tips.
- Don’t Drive Fatigued
If you are someone that has to drive a lot or you are going to be traveling on vacation, you will want to avoid driving when you are fatigued. This is one of the biggest problems that can occur for those that travel long distances. You should try to get the right amount of rest prior to taking on any sort of winter-related tasks in order to reduce the risk of driving in unsafe conditions.
- Never Warm Up Vehicles In a Garage
Another thing that you are going to want to do is be sure that you are never warming up vehicles in a garage. You want to do so in an open space that allows for proper ventilation. Otherwise, you risk poisoning yourself with carbon monoxide.
- Keep Your Gas Tank As Full As Possible
Another important thing that you are going to want to do is be sure to keep your gas tank as full as possible at all times. Whenever you are going to be hit with extreme temperatures, you want to try to keep your gas tank as full as possible because you want to avoid having your gas line get frozen. The best way to do this is by keeping the gas line full of gas.
- Don’t Use Your Parking Brake
Another good tip that you are going to want to utilize is to avoid using your parking brake. That way, you do not damage it or have it freeze up.
- Avoid Using Cruise Control
While cruise control can certainly be a helpful tool to use during long trips, you want to avoid using cruise control whenever you are driving in potentially unsafe conditions like rain or snow. You want to do this because you want to be able to maneuver whenever possible and be able to react faster in these conditions.
- Drive Slow
Whenever you are driving in snowy conditions, you will want to be sure that you are accelerating and decelerating as slow as possible. That way, you will be able to help your tires gain traction prior to moving too fast. You don’t want to try to move in too much of a hurry because it can cause your tires to completely lose all traction and could end up putting you in a very unsafe situation.
Overall, there are plenty of different things that you are going to want to do in order to drive as safe as possible in the winter and potentially unsafe conditions.