There are several things a driver can do to make sure that their car is ready for winter driving and in the event of a winter driving emergency. With colder temperatures and always a risk of breaking down, here is a collective list from some great online resources to help drivers be safe.
Slow Down! Drivers tend to forget from winter to winter to slow down when the weather changes. Even if the car has 4×4 or AWD, it doesn’t protect you from other bad drivers or drivers that may not see a patch of black ice. Just because you may be a safe driver doesn’t mean everyone else is and vice versa.
How to prep your car for Winter:
Many shops offer multipoint inspections. This may or may not include antifreeze/fluid checks, battery checks, headlight checks, wiper blade inspections, filters, etc.
Great snow tires with adequate tread will provide a safer winter drive. Check your wiper fluid. Stores like AutoZone, O’Reillys, and big box stores carry wiper fluid that is for freezing temperatures.
Make sure your fuel tank stays at least half full over the winter to avoid freezing water in the fuel line.
Check your lights to make sure all hazards, turn signals, headlights, and brake lights are working.
Keep an emergency kit in your car. (also make sure you have proper items in your glovebox)
Allow plenty of time for travel. Be aware of all your surroundings, you may think you’re a great driver, but the person next to you may not be. It just takes one slip on black ice.
Brake early and slowly. Don’t slam on the brakes.
Emergency Preparedness for your car in winter:
Shovel, just in case you get stuck.
Kitty Litter/Sand/Heavy Rock Salt, creates traction under tires if driver is in a slippery situation.
Scraper/Broom, clean off ALL snow off your car before driving.
Flashlight/Batteries/cell phone charger
Water/Snack, if you get stuck.
Blanket, if you get stuck.
First Aid Kit, Should ALWAYS be in your car winter or summer.
Jumper cables, Flares, and matches/lighter.
Do you know the difference between a winter warning, a winter watch, and a blizzard advisory?
Wunderground.com has a great outline:
Watches and Warnings
Winter Storm WATCH: This product is issued by the National Weather Service when there is a potential for heavy snow or significant ice accumulations, usually at least 24 to 36 hours in advance. The criteria for this watch can vary from place to place.
Winter Storm WARNING: This product is issued by the National Weather Service when a winter storm is producing or is forecast to produce heavy snow or significant ice accumulations. The criteria for this warning can vary from place to place.
Blizzard WARNING: Issued for winter storms with sustained or frequent winds of 35 mph or higher with considerable falling and/or blowing snow that frequently reduces visibility to 1/4 of a mile or less. These conditions are expected to prevail for a minimum of 3 hours.
Great Resources for winter prep: