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How to Prepare Your Car for Winter Risks

Beating the Season’s Exposure to Driving Hazards

Snow, sleet, and icy rain – all of these contribute to the hazardous winter conditions that we, drivers, have to be prepared for. As with any risks, it’s the wise person that prepares in advance. The following will help you safely navigate your vehicle through highway, street and parking during the harshest season of the year.

13 Vehicle Safety Tips

  1. Review your auto insurance policy.
    Go over your plan with your agent to make sure you have the coverage you need in the event of an accident.

    2. Join an auto club.
        Membership will help you gain access to roadside assistance
        and benefits when car failure occurs.

     3. Have your battery tested.
         In order to endure the winter hardships, your vehicle’s battery
         should be able to perform optimally. This means that it can
         supply that extra level of power necessary to start your car when
         cold temperatures call for it. Make sure that the battery terminals
         are clean and that the cables are installed securely.

     4. Check your windshield wipers and washer fluid.
         See how well your windshield wipers perform. Are the blades in
         good condition? Do they clean your windshield properly or do
         they cause streaking? Has your old washer fluid been replaced
         with the antifreeze variety?

      5. Inspect Tires.
          Winter puts an added strain on your tires. That is why they
          should be in top shape when the season begins. Ensure
          your tires have good tread and that they are inflated according to
          the manufacturers’ guidelines.

      6. Ascertain that your lights are working as they should.
          From time to time, wipe any dirt, ice and snow off your headlights
          to maximize visibility-function.

      7. Have your exhaust system inspected.
          A leak in your car’s exhaust system poses a greater peril risk in
          the wintertime because of closed windows. Ask your service
          station to verify that the exhaust is in good condition. Replace
          any parts that are not working as they should.  Regardless of
          your best attempts, it is always a good idea to keep even one
          window ajar to avoid exposure to carbon monoxide.

       8. Check your heating and cooling systems for leakage.
           Should your radiator develop a hole or your hoses become
           deteriorated, it’s time to for repair or replacement. Assess your
           vehicle’s heater as well as its defroster: are they performing as
           they should? Insufficient heating may indicate that you need to
           have your thermostat and heater professionally inspected.

       9. Check your brake system for inconsistencies.
           Make sure your brake fluid is at its optimum level. If you hear
           your brakes squeal, feel a ‘soft’ pedal or veer off to either side
           when braking, it’s time for a mechanic’s comprehensive

     10. Watch for transmission needs.
           If necessary, add fluid. Remember to change the filter according
           to brand specifications. 

     11. Lubricate all doors and locks.
           Ice can hamper door performance so be sure to pre-lubricate.
           Use a lock de-icer, a blow dryer or a key that has been warmed
           to open a frozen door or lock. Never use hot water!

      12. Maintain proper fuel level.
           Make sure your car has a minimum of a half a tank.

       13. Have the following available in your car: 
             - a flashlight
             - an ice scraper and snow brush
             - a shovel
             - tire chains
             - cables to jump your car
             - a bag of salt for throwing under car wheels to create traction
             - a cell phone and its charger
             - a first-aid kit
             - paper towels or a rag for headlight or windshield cleaning
             - a blanket
             - non-perishable food

RELATED: how to avoid blizzard danger
RELATED: what to stock to get food coverage for a storm


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Summary: Exposure to ice, sleet and snow contributes to driving liability. Learn clever tips for winter driving!


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