A picture of an emergency kit in a car, featuring a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a tow strap, jumper cables, and a reflective vest.

Tips to Keep Your Car Winter-Ready and Safe on the Road

12 January 2024

Winter weather means it’s essential to keep your car in good shape to tackle the challenges of cold weather and icy roads. From fluctuating temperatures to hazardous driving conditions, the winter season can place significant strain on your vehicle. Taking protective measures and performing regular maintenance can make all the difference in staying safe.

Car Weather-Related Changes to Keep In Mind

Driving safely in inclement and cold weather starts with driving a safe vehicle. Along with keeping up with routine maintenance and making necessary repairs or replacements, it’s important to keep the following in mind.

  • Fluids: Keep your car fluids at the appropriate level. Motor oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, and wiper fluid might need to be topped off. For wiper fluid, it might be a good idea to get one that can withstand the cold weather and replace any cracked or damaged wipers.
  • Tires: Air pressure in your tire may change as the temperatures drop. When it gets colder, the air in the tire condenses, which in turn lowers the PSI. Keep a regular eye on your tires and make sure they are filled to the recommended PSI. Also make sure your tires are in good condition as well as your spare. Do your best to get any issues addressed immediately.
  • Vehicle Tech: Some vehicles have all-wheel drive and some don’t. Some have antilock brakes and others don’t. Know these things about the vehicle you drive and how they might impact driving in wintery conditions.
  • Batteries: Battery power can drop with cold weather, so you’ll want to make sure yours is still in good condition as well as the charging system, belts, and more.
  • Gas or Charge: If possible, it’s a good idea to keep your gas tank full or vehicle completely charged. If you are stranded or stuck on the road for a while, you’ll need the gas or charge to keep the vehicle on and keep you and passengers warm.
  • Driving Routes: Pay special attention to potential road closures or delays due to weather-related incidents or hazards. Before leaving, plan your trip. Take the safest route, even if it’s not the shortest distance.

Another important note about driving in the winter is child car seats. Those bulky winter coats might keep kids warm, but they can be dangerous for children riding in car seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) outlines ways to keep kids safe in car seats and recommends that children wear a lightweight jacket so the harness can fit snugly around the child. Use a blanket to help the child stay warm. Click to read more about NHTSA’s recommendations for car seat safety.

Keep a Winter Kit in Your Car

It’s important to keep the necessary resources and tools in your car in order to stay safe out there.

Consider creating an emergency kit in case you are stranded during inclement weather. You might include things in your kit such as:

  • Ice scraper and snow shovel
  • Sand or other material to help wheels get traction if you’re tires are spinning on snow or ice
  • Tools to change a tire or jump your battery such as a jack and jumper cables
  • Blankets and other things to help you stay warm
  • A phone charger, water, food, and other necessities in case you’re stranded for a while

Winter can be challenging for drivers. Staying safe on the road starts with having a safe vehicle that is ready for winter. You can read our driving tips for safe driving for ice, snow, and cold weather here, including what to do if you hit a slick spot and start skidding.

Being prepared and remaining vigilant on the road can keep your travels safe for you and others on the road. Having the right auto insurance coverage can help give you peace of mind too. Give our licensed agents a call today at 844-358-5605 or send us a message so we can help you shop around for an auto insurance policy that makes sense for you.

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