Winter is here, bringing colder weather, ice, and snow. Seasonal transitions are the best time to check your vehicle to ensure it is ready for the weather to come. Maryland Auto has developed a checklist to prepare you for this chilly time of year.
Preparing your vehicle for winter weather
Winterize your vehicle.
- Test your battery – temperature drops can lower the power of your battery.
- If applicable, change your tires to winter tires.
- If you have all-season tires, check the tread depth.
- Check your tire pressure.
- Make sure your wiper fluid is full. A fluid rated for colder weather is best.
- Keep your gas tank at least halfway full.
- Check your coolant levels – using enough coolant prevents freezing. Frozen coolant can cause irreparable engine damage.
- Make sure your emergency supply kit is fully stocked. Check out this list from the National Safety Council: https://www.nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/emergency-preparedness/emergency-supplies-for-car.
Driving in Winter Weather
Before you head out on the roads, follow these steps to ensure the safety of yourself and everyone around you.
- Clear snow from your vehicle. Snow that dislodges from your car on the road can cause damage (and accidents) for drivers behind you. (And don’t forget to clear your backup camera).
- Make sure your sensors are free from dirt and ice- this ensures the safety features in your vehicle will work.
- If you’re warming up your vehicle before you drive away, remove it from your garage first – this prevents carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Plan and check your route before you leave.
Here are some tips for driving in dangerous conditions.
- Avoid using cruise control.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
- Give yourself more space- increase the distance you follow other vehicles.
- Don’t stop when driving uphill.
- Steer in the direction of a skid – this avoids overcorrecting once traction is regained.