As blizzard watches are issued yet again from Cape Cod to Maine for the entire weekend, our partner Allianz Global Assistance put out a super helpful checklist to help you get your car prepared for winter.
Allianz Global Assistance winter car preparation tips:
1. Winter tires, a wise precaution
A basic rule of thumb: Make sure all tires are in perfect condition. But fitting a car with winter tires might prove to be a driver’s best choice. This not only helps preserve your traditional tires, but also helps improve your vehicle’s safety in cold weather and on slippery roads, both fixtures of winter driving.
At the very least, make sure you have a kit of “tire socks”—a textile tire cover designed to help vehicles get traction on snow and ice—at the ready to put on summer tires when the roads are covered in snow.
2. The “extreme cold” kit helps you face winter’s obstacles
Every winter, drivers find themselves trapped for hours in their cars because of traffic jams caused by snowfall or a chain of accidents caused by icy rain. At the very minimum you should have a flashlight, an ice scraper, a shovel and a blanket stored in your car. Always make sure you have warm clothing, gloves, boots, bottled water, and snacks, even in you’re only traveling a short distance, and especially if you’re traveling with children.
3. Have a check-up before hitting the road
Cars today are safer than ever but winter puts them to the test, and dealing with even a minor breakdown when it’s 0° or -10° outside is always complicated and stressful. As a preventative measure, here are a few simple things to check out:
- Periods of extreme cold can greatly tax and drain a car’s battery. If the battery is easily accessible, make sure its wires are not damaged, and that it’s completely charged. Have an extra pair of jumper cables in the trunk for a quick restart by any other driver in the vicinity.
- Check to make sure your vehicle lights, including fog lights, are clean and in good working order. It’s also important to check that the windshield wipers leave no streaks on the windshield.
- Verify the oil, water and wiper fluid levels and fill them if necessary. And don’t forget to add the appropriate anti-freeze.
- Have your cell phone completely charged and a charger for back-up.
4. Caution, caution, caution
Black ice on a bend in the road that you approach too quickly will most certainly send you and your car off the road, even with the best brakes in the world. Remember to slow down and leave a little extra room between you and the car in front of you. Remember to take along your assistance company’s phone number and have it handy should you need help in any situation.
And of course before heading out during the winter, it’s easy to check the weather on the route you plan to take. If you do get caught in an unexpected storm, don’t try to be Superman—just pull off to the side of the road!
Don’t let your poor car suffer this winter! My dad and grandfather will be proud of me for properly educating you all on car safety this winter.
Disclaimer: I have a working relationship with Alliance Global Assistance USA. However, the opinions expressed in this post are mine based on and from my own annual policy.
Photo credit to The Weather Channel.
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