Winter driving can be intimidating, especially in snowstorms and icy conditions. By ensuring your car is prepared for winter and knowing some easy tips to drive safely, you can be confident when Midwest winter weather hits the Kansas City area.
Take time to consider the following winter driving tips for:
- Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter
- Checkpoints Before Heading Out into Wintery Weather Conditions
- Avoiding a Collision
- Knowing Your Car’s Capabilities
Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter:
Adding to normal maintenance, follow these tips to winterize your car:
- Check your battery as cold temperatures cause a decrease in battery power.
- Make sure the cooling system is in good working order.
- Check the tread on your tires and consider replacing if they have reached approximately 4/32” of remaining tread depth.
- Check the tire pressure as the pressure drops as the temperature drops.
- Test your wiper blades and replace if needed.
- Keep wiper fluid full rated for -30 degrees.
- Fill your gas tank regularly and keep at least half full to avoid gas line freeze.
Also, store a vehicle emergency supply kit in your car. It should include jumper cables, flashlight, first aid kit, car cell phone charger, water bottle & snacks, blanket, rain poncho, tool kit, fire extinguisher, shovel, cat litter for traction, and a spare tire and wheel wrench & tripod jack.
Checkpoints Before Heading Out into Wintery Weather Conditions:
- Make sure external camera lenses and side view mirrors are clean.
- Remove dirt, ice, and snow from sensors to allow the assistive-driving features like automatic emergency braking to work.
- In cold temps, warm up your car before you drive it; however, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, never leave a vehicle running in your garage – even with the garage door up.
- Depending on the forecast, wait out the storm if possible. If you must travel, share your travel plans and route with someone before you leave.
Tips for Avoiding a Collision:
AAA offers the following driving tips:
- Avoid using cruise control in wintry conditions.
- Steer in the direction of a skid, so when your wheels regain traction, you do not have to overcorrect to stay in your lane.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
- Increase following distance to 8 to 10 seconds.
- If possible, do not stop when going uphill.
If visibility is limited, pull off the road to a safe place and do not drive until conditions improve. Avoid pulling off onto the shoulder unless it is an absolute emergency. Limited visibility means other vehicles cannot see yours on the shoulder.
Knowing Your Car’s Capabilities:
Review your car’s driving manual, specifically its safety features. If you do not have your manual, you can find information online by searching by your vehicle’s make, model, and year.
Traction control is now standard on most new vehicles. This function helps your vehicle gain traction on snowy, icy, or wet surfaces, particularly when accelerating from a stopped or slowed position, or when trying to make it up a slippery incline.
Anti-lock braking system (ABS) helps you steer in emergencies by restoring traction to your tires and is standard on most new vehicles as well. ABS may vibrate or pulse when engaged. This is normal. Continue to press and hold pressure to the brake pedal.
Remember, you are your car’s best safety feature. Take precautions to ensure you arrive safely at your destination. If you become stranded in an unfamiliar area, do not leave your car. Light flares in front and behind the car and make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow, mud, or objects.
Get the right coverage for you. Ask if you qualify for the most discounts in insurance!
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