By Macy Santicola, Editor
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, twenty-one percent of vehicle crashes between 2007-2016 were attributed to adverse weather conditions. A vehicle’s condition can affect its performance in bad weather, so drivers should take the time to make sure their vehicles are prepped and inspected before winter hits.
Drivers should check their tire pressure frequently during the cold months as the dropping temperatures causes the pressure to lower. As pointed out in an article by SafeMotorist.com, under-inflated tires hinder steering. Tires should also have a 4/32” tread depth in order to insure driver safety. One of the easiest ways to check tread depth is by using a penny with Lincoln’s head facing down. If all of Lincoln’s head is visible, it’s time to replace the tires.
Ice Scraper/Brush – Snow and ice on vehicles can obscure the driver’s view, but it can also fly off and hit other vehicles. Keeping a scraper and brush on hand will keep drivers from having to use credit cards or their hands to remove snow, and it will keep the roads safer and free of flying ice.
Jumper Cables/Portable Battery Starter – These are important to have year round, but cold weather can slow the chemical reactions inside car batteries, especially if the battery is nearing the end of its life. If a car won’t start in a parking lot, planning on getting a new battery won’t save a stranded driver. Jumper cables are good if there are other drivers nearby, but portable battery chargers help a driver out of a bind without having to rely on another vehicle for help.
Sand/Cat Litter – Rock salt can help melt icy spots faster, but sand and cat litter can give tires traction in order to get out of slick spots. Bags of sand and cat litter can also provide weight and therefore a bit more traction in vehicles like trucks that are more front-heavy.
Extra Clothes/Blankets – In freezing temperatures, extra layers are a must-have. Drivers may not feel the need to get bundled up for a quick trip to a drive-through or to a friend’s house, but a vehicle crash can happen anywhere. Drivers shouldn’t rely on their car’s heater to work during a crash, and should have extra clothes and a blanket to keep warm until help can arrive. Gloves and a hat are also beneficial when having to clean snow off of the vehicle.
De-Icer/Wiper Fluids – Visibility is key in bad weather, and things like de-icer and wiper fluid can help keep windshields unobstructed in winter. De-icer can help reduce the time it takes to clear off the windows, but they can also prevent the windshield from freezing again while driving.
Drive carefully, be alert, and make sure your vehicle is prepared to help keep yourself and other drivers safe this winter.
Photo Credit: Macy Santicola