Be prepared for the unexpected emergency...always carry a First Aid kit, map, ice scraper, snow brush, matches, candles, flashlight, warning triangles, flares, tow and battery jumping cables, folding shovel, a bag of sand, a blanket, winter gloves, cell phone if you have one, an emergency HELP sign that you can put in the back window if you need help and make sure you carry a battery full cell phone to call for Help if needed.A blanket is a good idea--just in case. If you have any winter clothes you don't wear anymore, especially an old pair of boots, throw them in the trunk, too..Keep all your car's windows, mirrors and lights clear of snow and ice.
Always keep the air intake grill in front of your car free of leaves, snow and ice.Also keep the air intake to your heating system free of leaves, snow and ice.
Take an extra minute to clear all the snow and ice from your car. This will help avoid sheets of ice flying off the car and hitting the car behind you.
Check that headlamps, turn signals, and tail lights are unobstructed by snow and ice.
Clear off the entire car, not just a little peephole in the windshield. First of all, you need just as much, if not more, visibility in poor conditions, because you have to keep your eye peeled for every other knucklehead on the road. Make sure every glass surface is clear and transparent by using a snow brush and/or ice scraper. Your side view mirrors and all lights should be brushed and cleared as well.
Add gas line anti-freeze to the fuel-tank when refueling in extremely cold weather.
Get ready for harsh winter driving weather:
- Keep gas tank always be over half full.In the winter, if you do get stuck or stranded, the engine will be your only source of heat. And you don't want to have to worry about conserving fuel and saving the planet right at that moment...you want to stay warm. (And make sure you keep a window open a crack if you're sitting there with the engine running.The other reason for a full tank is that warm daytime temperatures will fill the empty space in the tank with moisture, which will condense during the cold night. This water will sink to the bottom and, sooner or later, rust out your tank.
- Make sure your windshield wipers are in good shape. Winter wipers--with the rubber coverings that keep ice from collecting on the blade--have become very popular. They're great in the winter, but make sure you take them off in the spring. Winter wipers are heavy, and if you use them all summer, you'll eventually wear out the wiper motor
- Check windshield washer fluid level.On a snowy or messy day, you can easily go through two or three liters of fluid trying to keep your windshield clear. For that reason, it's also a good idea to keep some extra fluid in the trunk in case you run out. And make sure you get the good stuff--stay away from the half-frozen blue stuff outside your local gas station! Even though it may say "Good to Minus 30!" some of these cheap blue fluids freeze around zero degrees. If you live in a very cold area, you also may need to supplement your windshield washer fluid with some concentrate.
- Check engine oil, especially before long trips. Note that cars use more oil in the winter and as such check the oil level more often than you do in the summer. Use winter weight oil (5W-30).
- Keep battery terminals clean, tight, free of corrosion and dry.
- Check tire pressure, tire condition, and spare tire pressure regularly. Tires lose on the average 1 pound per month through normal leakage.If you are driving on all weather tires.... reduce the tire pressure by 2 psi during the winter months.... this will provide a little extratraction and reduce stopping distance.... but it will also lower your kilometers per litre on your car's performance.
- Load roof rack according to manufacturer's specifications.
- Have a mechanic check the battery, charging system and belts. If you find that you need a new battery, get the biggest, meanest, ugliest battery that will fit in your car. Two things to remember about batteries: First, the battery that started your car easily in the summer may not have enough oomph to do it in winter, when the oil isn't as "fluid" as it was last July. And secondly, batteries lose power as the temperature drops. So, not only do you need MORE power to start the car in winter, you also get LESS power from the same battery.
Normal Winter Driving Tips
Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.Carbon monoxide quickly builds up in enclosed areas and it cannot be sensed by your nose.Always wear your safety belt. Everyone in the vehicle must wear seat belts or restraints. Don't forget kids don't go in seat belts after all -- but in weight- and height-appropriate restraints and not in the front seat, etc.Start out slowly in the lowest gear recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.Watch for hazardous road conditions. Take extra care when driving on icy roads and watch out for hard to see patches of ice (black ice). Especially in shady spots and bridges.Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road.
When there is snow on the ground and the sun is very bright - wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and prevent excessive eye fatigue.Avoid driving when you are tired.
Always maintain a safe following distance between your car and the vehicle in front. It takes a greater distance to stop on ice and snow.Don't pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary.Treat these as you would emergency response vehicles.Don't park along the street. Snowplow drivers can't fully clear a road if cars are in their wayAlways maintain a safe following distance between your car and the vehicle in front. It takes a greater distance to stop on ice and snow.
Every car has different handling characteristics. You should know what your car can and cannot do in the snow. You should know if it has antilock brakes and traction control, how they work and how they help. In fact, you should practice using these features in an empty parking lot before you have to use them on the roads. See your owner's manual for details.
When driving in the snow, do everything slowly. Even with good coolant, snow tires, traction control, all-wheel drive and the bag of Doritos in the trunk, keep in mind that driving in snow - sleet and ice is very treacherous. And even if you maintain control of your car, not everyone else will. So, don't ever get lulled into a false sense of security. Do everything slowly and gently. Remember, in the snow, the tires are always just barely grabbing the road. Accelerate slowly and gently, turn slowly and gently and brake slowly and gently. To do this, you have to anticipate turns and stops. That means, what? Going slowly and leaving plenty of distance between you and other cars. Rapid movements lead to skids and loss of control.If you're nervous about driving in winter, consider spending some time practicing. Go to an empty parking lot and try sending the car into a little skid on purpose. Slam on the brakes, then practice turning into the skid and see what happens--and practice until you're comfortable regaining control of the car. Doing this in a large, empty parking lot allows you the luxury of skidding without ending up flat on your back, looking up into the eyes of several ambulance personnel and police. The more comfortable you are maintaining control and regaining control, the better a winter driver you'll be.Drive economically - use a light foot on the accelerator pedal.
Driving In Extreme Low Visibility Winter Conditions
If you must go out when the conditions are poor, take a friend with you. Foureyes are better than two anytime, and if you get yourself into trouble two peopleare usually better to find solutions rather than one.
When encountering whiteout, blizzard conditions or freezing rain.
Try to get off the highway to a safe area until the visibility and road conditions are better.
If you are on the NH1A highway ..and your visibility is limited because of passing transports,blowing snow, freezing rain, etc --- drive slowly in your lane ONLY...
Turn on your four way flashers and proceed slowly with a lot of cautionPut on the window wipers and front and rear window defrostersWatch the rear view mirror for vehicles who might rear end you.Do not use high beams as they only reflect the snow and make it worse.
Do not use the cruise control because if and when the tires slip it causescars to accelerate and you will lose control of the car.Watch for cars that might just suddenly appear in front of you.And roll down your window to hear if there are cars coming!Drive as if there were eggs on the bottom of your feet--step on the gasand the brake pedals so gently that you don't break the eggshell.
Good Luck !
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