Summer is winding down. It’s time to pack away your summer gear and get ready for winter. Driving during the winter also poses unique challenges, so it is important to make sure that your car is properly winter proofed for the season. Here are ten tips to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe as the weather gets cooler, the roads get icier, and the days get shorter.
- Check your battery. According to Time Magazine, your battery can lose as much as 33% of its energy when temperatures dip below freezing. When temperatures fall below zero, your battery can lose as much as 60% of its power. This means that a battery that might work perfectly fine during the summer months can suddenly go dead when the mercury drops. You don’t want to get stranded out in the cold, so make sure you take your battery in for a check-up before the snow hits.
- Check your lights and mirrors. Not only should you double check that your lights are working, but you should also take the time to clean your lights as well. Make sure that all your signals are also in working order.
- Get a tune-up. Take your car in for a tune-up and an oil change. You may also want to consider using thinner oil for the winter, as cold weather can thicken oil.
- Check your brakes. According to the American Safety Council, brakes should be able to stop your car in a distance of 25 feet when your car is moving at a speed of 20 miles per hour. You can test your breaks yourself on a straight, flat, empty stretch of road when conditions are good. Accelerate safely and then apply your brakes. Does your car swerve to one side or the other? If it does, one of your brakes may be worn. Do you hear noises when you press down on your brakes? If you do, it may be a good time to have your brakes examined by a proper mechanic.
- Use cold weather wiper fluid and winter wipers. One of the most important things you can do to ensure visibility on cold days is to make sure you have winter windshield wiper fluid or any fluid with antifreeze. According to Good Housekeeping, most modern winter windshield wiper fluid contains a chemical that melts ice. Not only will wiper fluid help you see clearly, it may also help you avoid having to scrape your windshield on those particularly cold days. Winter blades are also built to handle freezing cold and ice. Invest in a pair to avoid accidents. Many personal injury lawyers see accidents in Minneapolis, Minnesota due to poor visibility conditions. Taking steps to improve your visibility can prevent personal injury and accidents.
- Check your tires. For every drop in temperature of 10 degrees, your tire pressure decreases by a pound. Check your tires’ pressure before the temperatures drop. If you already have a problem now, colder weather will only make the situation worse. Improper pressure in tires can lead to accidents and injuries, especially on icy or snowy roads.
- Check tread depth of your tires. Use the penny test. Put a penny into your tire’s tread, with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see his head, it’s probably time to change your tires.
- Consider purchasing a remote car starter. A warm car is easier to start. A remote car starter can warm up your car and allow time for ice and frost to melt off your windshield in the morning. This way, by the time you’re ready to hit the road, your car is ready, too.
- Winter-proof your driveway. Have salt on hand to keep your driveway ice and snow-free.
- Pack an emergency kit in your car. Pack blankets, flashlight, jumper cables, shovel, and salt. An emergency kit can keep you alive while you wait for help. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you leave home.
Taking some simple winter-proofing precautions can help prevent winter accidents. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, a harsh winter can actually lead to fewer accidents because fewer people take to the road. Despite this, personal injury lawyers in Minneapolis like Martin T. Montilino, see many accidents that could have been prevented with proper preparation and common sense.
If you or a loved one has been injured or involved in an accident, contact the Law Office of Martin T. Montilino or visit his website at www.martinmontilino.com.