How to best prepare your car for winter driving

B.R. Shenoy
Snowy antique carPhoto byPhoto by Matthew Henry from Burst

“If you were to leave a vehicle, you'd have to have a very good reason. You have to have a good idea where you are. You'd have to try to assess: 'What are my prospects of being rescued if the situation has gone on so long that it's potentially life-threatening?' " Eric Stern, a professor at the University at Albany's College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity stated to NPR. 

Driving in a winter storm can be treacherous and dangerous. It's important to be prepared and take extra precautions when operating a vehicle in these conditions.

Per David Bennett, a repair systems manager for AAA, essential car provisions include:

phone charger

flashlight with extra batteries 

first-aid kit 

protein bars and other nonperishable foods (switch those out every few months) 

a few bottles of water 

extra pet food, if applicable 

shovel or ice scraper

Blankets, extra clothes, hats, scarves, and gloves are all excellent things to keep in the car, according to Eric Stern, a professor at the University at Albany's College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity. 

Stern and Bennett both recommend that you keep your gas tank full.

Stern and Bennett claim that because a car is the safest place to be in this situation, it is critical to maintain the vehicle to withstand bad weather. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends several steps for car maintenance and winter driving conditions. 

To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, drivers should keep exhaust pipes clear of snow and ice, according to the EPA. It also advises against driving with the windows up or in an enclosed space for extended periods.

Travelers should keep an eye on the weather forecasts for where they are and where they are going. Stern advises that you should never be too proud to turn back if the weather is too dangerous to continue.

Here are some additional tips for drivers to stay safe during winter storms:

  1. Slow down: Reduced visibility and slippery roads can make driving more difficult during winter storms. Slow down and give yourself extra time to react to changing conditions.
  2. Use your headlights: Turn on your headlights to improve your visibility to other drivers, even during the day.
  3. Increase your following distance: Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you to give yourself time to react if you need to brake suddenly.
  4. Avoid sudden movements: Sudden movements, such as sudden braking or sharp turns, can cause your car to lose traction on slippery roads. Try to make smooth, gradual movements when driving in winter conditions.
  5. Be cautious on bridges and overpasses: These surfaces freeze before regular roads do, so be extra cautious when driving on them.
  6. Avoid using cruise control: It can be tempting to use the cruise control to maintain a constant speed, but it can also cause you to lose control of your car on slippery roads.
  7. Know how to use your car's safety features: Familiarize yourself with your car's traction control and stability control systems, and know how to turn them on if needed.

I hope these tips are helpful! Stay safe out there!

Are you and your car ready for the winter? Let us know in the comments. 

Comments / 8

Published by

Content Writer/Blogger/Writing articles that inspire thought and reflection.

Houston, TX

More from B.R. Shenoy

Comments / 0