Winter driving is a skill that not all vehicle owners have mastered. There are so many more risks to consider when driving in such weather and the roads can be particularly tricky to navigate. Here are some of the most important Dos and Don’ts.
Dos for winter driving
Prevention is always best and you can avoid many problems by inspecting your car before winter.
Here’s what you need to check:
• Have a mechanic perform a ‘winter check’ on your vehicle. This includes the coolant, brakes, and more.
• Check for cracked or frayed belts under the hood.
• Get any known repairs taken care of promptly.
• Test the battery to make sure it will get you through the winter. Cold weather takes an extra toll on battery life.
• Replace the battery if necessary.
• Have snow tires or at least all-season tires fitted. If you live in an area that receives heavy snow, you should know that all-season tires are not ideal and snow tires are the safest bet.
• Check the tire pressure since it will go down in winter.
• Keep a set of tire chains in your trunk.
• Top off your windshield wiper fluid. Consider using the winter blend for these cold months.
• Check your windshield wiper blades for tears and other damage. Replace if necessary.
• Check all the lights on your car and make sure they are working.
• Keep an ice scraper in your car at all times.
• Keep jumper cables in your car at all times.
• Keep your gas tank at least half full during winter to prevent frozen fuel lines.
Now for the emergency kit:
• Flashlight with spare batteries
• Flares and/or reflectors
• Warm blanket.
• Small snow shovel, sand, salt, or something similar if you get stuck.
• Basic tool kit
• Emergency survival kit including warm clothes, medical supplies, non-perishable foods.
• Mobile phone
• Always tell somebody where you will be travelling and set a schedule for checking in if you are taking a long trip. They will call for help if you don’t check in and they will know where the authorities should look for you.
• Plan ahead and run errands before a storm hits
• Check weather reports
• Dress warm
• Drive slowly for at least a mile to warm your car up. This is easier on the engine than warming up in the driveway.
• Accelerate slower in the snow
• Brake slower
• Turn slower
• Keep extra distance between yourself and other cars for braking purposes.
• Anticipate turns and traffic lights.
• Pick up momentum before approaching a hill.
• Take your time and stay calm.
• Keep your eyes open for pedestrians.
• Practice winter driving in an empty parking lot and feel free to lose control a little so that you know how to bring your car back under control.
Don’ts for winter driving
• Never warm your car up in a closed space due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Don’t warm your car up by idling. Drive slowly for a mile instead.
• Don’t tailgate.
• Don’t brake abruptly.
• Try not to stop completely unless you have to. It can be difficult to get going again.
• Don’t stop your car while going uphill.
• Don’t drive with summer, worn, or bald tires.
• Don’t accelerate too much when going uphill, your tires will most likely spin.
• Avoid sharp turns.
• Don’t use your parking brake while driving. You could lose control because your car will start spinning.
• Don’t use cruise control, you can lose traction.
• Do not over-correct if you do spin out. Instead, steer into the skid.
• Don’t brake if your car spins. It will be more difficult to regain traction.
• Don’t assume that everyone else on the road knows how to drive in the snow.
These are some of the basic and most important winter travelling guidelines. It never hurts to use common sense and listen to that gut instinct too. If you are too nervous to drive during poor weather, have an experienced driver take the wheel or wait until the worst has passed. Remember that you should also always have an auto warranty that you can rely on should any unpleasant incidents occur while you are travelling. Contact A-Protect Warranty at 1-866-660-6444 for the best and most affordable used car extended warranties to set your mind at ease.