Tips for Hazardous Winter DrivingOn February 3, 2020 by Calgary's Child
by Mia Bevacqua of In The Garage
If you get stranded during the summer, you can just hang out in shorts and a tank top until help arrives—but that’s not the case during the winter. When the snow flies, you need to be sure you’re prepared for the worst-case scenario: being stuck outside in sub-zero temperatures.
Here are a few winter driving tips that will help ensure that both you and your vehicle are ready for whatever comes your way.
Bring equipment to deal with the snow and ice
Make sure you have the essentials—such as an ice scraper and shovel—onboard at all times. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, you may also want to toss a bag of kitty litter in the trunk for better traction. Also, if you plan on traveling into the mountains, don’t forget to pack a set of snow chains. Usually, all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles can go without chains. But during extreme winter conditions, local authorities may require chains on all vehicles.
Pack emergency equipment for your car
Guess what? You aren’t the only one who can benefit from an emergency preparedness kit. Your car should have one, too. Consider packing the following equipment:
- Compact lithium-ion jumper box
- Torque multiplier for removing stubborn lug nuts
- Basic kit of hand tools
- Tow strap
- Traction mats
3. Pack emergency supplies for yourself
You never know what could happen out there on the frozen tundra (or the snow-covered interstate running through the middle of suburbia). Be sure to carry emergency supplies in case you get stranded out in the cold. You’ll want to pack the following:
- Water and food
- Blankets and warm clothing
- Medication (if you need it)
- Flashlight and batteries
- Cell phone charger
- First aid kit
- Pet food (if you’re bringing your furry friend along)
- Roadside emergency flares and hazard triangles
Take care of any needed repairs
Do you want to break down and get stranded in a blizzard? We didn’t think so. Winter driving conditions can be unpredictable, and taking care of existing car problems will help you avoid such a scenario. Be sure to fix that weird noise or illuminated warning light before it’s too late.
Stay up-to-date on routine maintenance
If you’re one of those people who puts off essential car care—stop it. You could be jeopardizing the reliability of your vehicle and, consequently, your personal safety. Make sure you stay up-to-date on routine maintenance to avoid a potentially costly—and dangerous—break down during the winter.
Keep your gas tank at least half-full at all times
So, you like to live dangerously by seeing how far your car can go with the gas gauge on empty. You’re a rebel. We get it. But winter (or any other season, for that matter) isn’t the time to test your car’s limits. Be sure to keep your gas tank at least half-full at all times. That way, you’ll be prepared should you ever encounter any unforeseen road closures—a common occurrence during the winter.
Inspect your vehicle on a regular basis
Put on your long johns (under your regular clothes, of course) and head out into the cold to have a look at your car. Although it can be tough to make yourself check boring car stuff such as tires and fluids, doing so is essential—particularly during the winter season.
Remember to practice safe driving habits
You and your 20-year old hatchback have nothing to prove. So, slow down and show Old Man Winter some respect. Practicing safe (and smart) driving during the winter will help you make it where you’re going in one piece.
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