The best tip for driving in wintery weather is to avoid driving if you can. If rescheduling isn’t an option, planning ahead and being proactive with your car maintenance can give you the best chance of not being stranded in the cold.
Prepare your car for winter
- Tire Tread- Monitor your tire’s tread depth. If you need to determine whether your tires need replacing, buy a tread-depth gauge from an auto parts store or simply use a quarter. Insert the quarter between the treads upside down. If you can’t see George Washington’s head, it’s time to get new tires.
- Tire Pressure- Check tire pressure throughout the season. Tire pressure drops as the temperature drops.
- Battery- An annual battery check is good practice if your battery is more than 4 years old if you live in a cold climate or 2 years old if you live in a hot climate.
- Wipers- check blades and add wiper fluid rated for -30 degrees.
Before you drive
- Keep your gas tank more than halfway full to avoid gas line freeze.
- Stock up on cold weather gear for your car. This includes warm clothing, a flashlight, an ice scraper, road flares, work gloves, shovel, jumper cables, and even extra food and water.
- Have a fully charged phone, even for short trips. Include a charging cord for your car and the number of your auto service or towing company handy.
- Clear away snow and ice from your windshield and lights.
- Plan your route and let someone know where you are going.
Driving in winter conditions
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
- Do NOT use cruise control.
- Increase the distance between you and other cars.
- If your car stops or stalls, stay in your car. Turn your flashers on and call or wait for help.
- Steer gently in the direction of a skid. Do not panic and break hard.