5 Tips to Prepare Your Car for Winter Driving
Winter driving can put even the best drivers on edge. It’s important to know what you can do to prepare yourself and your car for driving in rough conditions. Here’s a few tips we’ve provided to help you stay safe during the winter months:
1) Warm Up Your Vehicle
Before you rush off to the mall to get your Christmas shopping out of the way, it’s important to warm up your vehicle. Fluids get thicker when it’s cold so experts recommend you allow 60 to 120 seconds for your car to run before hitting the road. We all live fast-paced lives with little downtime, but those few seconds can make a huge difference in your engine’s lifespan.
Important tip: Never leave your car idle in an enclosed space, such as a garage, for long periods of time.
2) Clear Off Your Windshield/Windows
Visibility is the most important factor to safe winter driving. If you park your car on the street, make sure you completely dust off snow or scrape ice from all windows. Make sure you have the proper supplies in your car at all times such as an ice scraper and snow brush for emergency use. If you park in a garage, make sure to shovel your driveway before backing out to avoid sliding into your neighbor’s mailbox.
3) Check Your Tires
We’re all too familiar with that bright orange TPMS icon which inevitably shows it’s face every time the temperature drops. The reasoning for this occurrence is because air contracts when it’s cold. The air molecules inside your tires slow and take up less space. Make sure you check your air pressure while your vehicle is cold i.e. before you start driving. Friction from driving may cause your tires to heat which can cause a false reading.
Also make sure you check on your tires’ treads. You want to make sure that they’re not too worn since you’ll need as much traction as you can get when driving on snow and ice. If you’re not sure if you need new tires, it’s always a good idea to have them checked by a trusted professional.
4) Make Sure You Have At Least A Half Tank Of Gas
Winter driving can cause gas line freeze-up which occurs when the air moisture inside your gas tank freezes causing the line to clog. This most commonly happens after your car has been sitting for hours in the cold but can also happen while driving if the temperature is low enough. The best way to avoid gas line freeze-up is by making sure there’s as little air as possible in the tank by keeping it above at least half full in cold conditions. This is especially important to remember during long distance drives. Make sure to check your fuel level every so often and plan the best places to stop for gas along your route.
5) Avoid Driving While Fatigued
This one may seem like common sense, but according to AAA Traffic Safety Foundation, 1 in 5 fatal crashes in the U.S. involve drowsy driving. It’s especially tempting to nod off when you’re nice and cozy in your fuzzy sweater with the heat blasting. Make sure to get proper rest and consider bringing a travel mug filled with steaming coffee or caffeinated tea.