A whopping 46 percent of all accidents related to weather happen in the wintertime. It’s not really a surprise, but it should make us pause and think about how we can increase our safety on the roads.
First things first, make sure your vehicle is up to the task. Now more than ever, it’s time to do a full inspection of your car’s systems:
- Have your battery checked. Batteries will only last between 3 and 5 years, and cold weather can cause all kinds of problems and leave you stranded if you’re battery’s life is running out. Learn more about battery life here >>>
- Check out your brakes. It’s hard to brake in slippery weather, making it all the more important that yours are in tip-top shape. Wondering what to look for? Check out our comprehensive guide here >>>
- Replace your engine air filter. Not only does a clean filter increase fuel efficiency, it also prolongs your engine’s life. Learn more here >>>
- Heed the check engine light. Simply put, the light is on for a reason and ignoring it could be the end of your vehicle’s life.
- Have your exhaust pipe checked for leaks, and make sure to remove snow from around the pipe before turning on the car. Odorless carbon monoxide can leak from the pipe and it’s deadly.
- Polish your lights. In bad weather it’s more important than ever to have bright lights. You can purchase new ones, but you can also get a special kit to help remove the haze off your existing lights.
- Change your oil — preferably with synthetic! When it’s cold, your vehicle will start up better with synthetic oil.
- Upgrade your tires. If you don’t already have winter tires, it’s time to get them. Learn all about the benefits of snow tires here.
- Fill up the window washer fluid (and make sure it’s good in below-freezing temps). Believe it or not, some will freeze at 20 degrees, and it can definitely get colder than that in Plymouth. If it freezes, it can ruin the whole system.
- Update your wipers. It’s pretty easy to know if you need new wipers or not. If your existing ones are squeaking or failing to get the windshield clean, you should invest in a new set. Driving without being able to see clearly? Dangerous.
Next, take stock of how you drive in the winter:
- Don’t warm up your car in the garage. Dangerous carbon monoxide can fill up the room and is deadly!
- Don’t drive away without clearing all the snow and ice off your vehicle. Window ice makes it difficult to see, and when snow flies off your vehicle it presents a danger to other drivers.
- Don’t tailgate or speed. The speed limit is for sunny days. Dial it back in the ice and snow. Also keep your distance — it’s tougher to brake on slushy roads.
- Lean into the skid. If your car starts sliding, don’t brake — move your steering wheel in the safest direction.
- Don’t text and drive.
- Carry an emergency road kit, just in case you end up stranded in bad weather. You’ll want water, a first aid kit, blankets, flashlight, non-perishable snacks, flares, jumper cables, and sand. Of course, a shovel or ice scraper are good to have in your car as well.
Finally, if you need any advice or services, call Cape Auto! We have a team of technicians ready to serve you and get you safely back on the road.