Whether you’re ready or not, winter is coming! Winter driving can be dangerous, so make sure to prepare your car for the season. With this checklist from MassDrive, you’ll be ready for winter driving in no time.
winterize your car
Now that fall is officially here, there are some important tips to remember when it comes to driving. With the change of seasons comes a change in driving conditions, and there are important rules of the road to remember for each time of year. Even though we are not yet dealing with snow on the ground (knock on wood), there are other dangers to watch out for and work around while driving. These tips will give you a quick refresher on what exactly to look out for:
Wet Leaves – The brightly colored leaves on the trees are one of the most beautiful parts of the season, however once they begin to fall off the trees we have a problem. Wet leaves are extremely slick and can be just as dangerous as ice on the road. They reduce traction making it easier to skid out or hydroplane if it’s raining. Another hazard? They can also cover up the yellow and white lines that divide lanes which limits visibility and creates dangerous conditions for yourself and others on the road. Treat slick leaves on the road as you would ice, drive slowly and cautiously and be extra aware of other drivers. Being a defensive driver could save your life, even if you are obeying all of the rules of the road, other drivers may not be. Stay alert and watch for any unsafe behavior such as speeding or weaving in and out of lanes, especially when there are wet leaves on the ground.
Frost – Hard to believe it but sooner than later we will be waking up to a fresh coat of frost on our windshields. You know what that means? Stocking our cars with ice scrapers and turning up the defroster! Make sure that you’re prepared for your morning commute, there’s nothing worse that running late because you have to wait for your windshield to defrost. Now that it’s getting colder, frost will not only accumulate on your windshield but in cold, wet areas on the road as well. Be especially cautious near bridges with water underneath them. The combination of cold air and the water underneath the bridge causes the temperature of that part of the road to drop lower than other areas of the road, creating black ice. Areas underneath overpasses can also be dangerous because they get little to no sunlight. Pay extra close attention during the early morning and evening hours, typically the darkest and coldest times of day.
Driving In The Dark – We lose a minute of sunlight each day in the fall, and until we turn our clocks back in October it will only keep getting darker earlier at night and later in the morning. After enjoying the daylight until about 9 PM in the summer months, it can be quite an adjustment driving in the dark on your way home from work now that fall is here. As the days pass it is only going to get darker sooner, so don’t forget to adjust your headlights both in the morning and at night. This is especially important in thickly settled districts, it will be much harder to see children playing outside, bike riders, and even people doing yard work outside once it starts to get dark in the early evening. Remember to adjust your headlight accordingly if you don’t have automatic ones, and be extra cautious when driving during the dark evening hours.
Prepare Your Car For Winter – It’s never too early to be prepared! Winterizing your car is a process that takes multiple steps and it’s never too early to start! As we mentioned earlier, make sure you have an ice scraper in your car so that you’re prepared for any frost that may potentially slow your commute. You should also set aside some time to have your vehicle looked at by a professional, make sure the brakes, heater, lights, battery, fluids, and defroster are all working. You don’t want to be stranded or have any car troubles when the temperatures drop! We will post even more tips to winterize your car once the snowy season is closer, but for now these tasks will set you on your way to a winterized vehicle ready to take on the snow!
As always, one of the most important tips we can offer is to make sure you are properly insured. Accidents are much more likely to occur during the colder months due to slick roads, which is why it’s so important to make sure you are covered! Give us a call or click MassDrive to get a quote from one of our agents today!
Photo By: visualthinker
Winter weather is here! Is your car ready? When the temperature drops it can have some seriously negative effects on your vehicle, which is why it is so important to winterize your car. Basic maintenance and simple adjustments make a world of difference when it comes to prepping a car for winter and safe winter driving. To make it easy for you, we’ve listed some of the most important steps to winterize your vehicle in the upcoming months:
- Get your tires checked. Cold weather causes tires to lose their air quicker than usual. Checking the air pressure is crucial during the winter season, especially because roads are so slick and icy, you need your tires to be at top performance more than ever. If it is an option financially, snow tires are a great option as they can reduce travel time while increasing safety of the vehicle.
- Winter wiper blades are a cost effective preventative measure as they usually range from about $8-$10 each. These blades have a thicker and wider rubber covering and are able to power through snow and ice more effectively than normal wiper blades.
- Check windshield washer fluid levels! Switching to a winter grade solvent windshield washer fluid during this time of year is helpful because it doesn’t freeze. It is also especially important in the winter because it is able to assist in clearing away snow and ice on the windshield if you are in a rush and don’t have much time to scrape off ice.
- Keep your gas tank as full as possible during the next few months. This prevents the gas line from freezing. Condensation typically builds up inside a gas tank but during the winter it is especially dangerous because it can freeze. Should this happen, the water will sink to the bottom of the tank, freeze, and consequently make it impossible to drive. If you are not able to pump a full tank’s worth of gas, adding a bottle’s worth of fuel de-icer to the tank can keep the line from freezing.
- Salt is one of the most harmful elements to cars during the winter. It is necessary for keeping the roads safer and less icy, but in turn salt gets into the undercarriage of a car, causing parts to rust and erode over time. Getting your car washed (at least once a week) in the winter washes away the salt which can be detrimental to both the car and your wallet should it cause erosion. Be sure to ask for an undercarriage rinse for best effects.
- Despite the cold temperatures, an engine can still over heat in the winter. The cold causes oil to thicken which makes it move more slowly between different parts of the engine, which results in it getting too hot. A simple oil change, which is recommended about every 3,000 miles, is the best way to keep this from happening.
- On the other hand, you don’t want your engine to freeze either, which is why antifreeze is essential to ensure that your vehicle survives the cold. Putting the right amount is crucial to the engine’s performance as well. Creating a mixture of about 50% antifreeze and 50% water is the ideal fluid to put into the engine.
- Check the battery, belts, and hoses. The engine has to work much harder in the cold which puts extra strain on the battery. They typically last about 3-5 years but it is important to keep track so that you don’t end up stranded in the snow. Belts and hoses are weakened by the cold which makes it easier for them to snap or break. Have a mechanic take a look at these when you bring your car in for an oil change.
- Should you ever find yourself stranded in the snow with a broken down car, one of the most important things to have is an emergency kit specifically for winter. This should include blankets, boots, gloves, flares, a flashlight, ice scraper, spare tire, and energy bars.
- Make sure your Mass auto insurance policy is squared away before hitting the road, just in case. Call your MassDrive agent today to learn more.
This season can result in extremely dangerous winter driving conditions which is why it is so important to be sure that your car is in the best shape possible! These tips not only make driving safer in the present, but help to prevent potentially serious damage to your car in the future!
Photo by wanko