Winter Travel and Vehicle Readiness
Winter Travel and Vehicle Readiness: Get to Your Destination Safely
The winter travel season is upon us. As the temperature drops and snow arrives, being prepared for winter travel and vehicle readiness before you venture out is key to survival. Whether you are hitting the road to go to Grandma’s house or a ski getaway, make sure you get to your destination safely.
Winter Travel and Vehicle Readiness Checklist
We are always reminded this time of year to make sure our vehicles are in winter driving shape.
Here are some items to put on your checklist.
Check the Battery
When the mercury plummets, so does your battery as the cold reduces its cranking power. If a battery is more than five years old and shows signs of weakness, replace it. You don’t want to get stranded on the road with a dead battery.
Replace the Wipers
Wiper blades should be replaced at least twice a year. Streaks or missed expanses of glass are sure signs that the blades are going bad. You can temporarily extend their life by cleaning the rubber edge of the blade with a paper towel and glass cleaner, but don’t rely on that all winter long.
Clear the Snow!
It is not safe to drive with snow-covered windows. We don’t always clear the snow and ice off our windows or cars as well as we should. Use an ice scraper on frosty mornings. If snow is in the forecast and you park outside, place the wipers in a raised position to keep them from freezing to the windshield.
Keep Windows Clean
To clear any mud and salt residue that‘s kicked up as you drive, fill your windshield-washer reservoir with a winter blend solution that has antifreeze. Make sure the lights on your vehicle are working as well and the lenses are clean. Check the heater and defrost too.
Winter Travel and Vehicle Readiness Maintenance
Check the oil to ensure it will properly function in low temperatures. While the car is in the shop, have the radiator and heater hoses checked for cracks, leaks or contamination from oil or grease.
Replace the Tires
If your tires are old, replace them. Your safety depends on tire traction. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread. Winter-grade tires tend to be in short supply in winter, so buy them early. A new set of all-season tires works in places that get less snow.
Basic Winter Driving Tips
AAA has other recommendations for safe winter travel. Keep a blanket and bundle of cold weather gear in your car. Pack extra food and water, a flashlight, a glass scraper, and any medications you need. Make sure your gas tank is at least half-full at all times. Slow down and adjust your speed to avoid losing traction on snow and ice. Increase your following distance to five or six seconds.
What to Do if You Get Stuck in Snow
Check the weather conditions along your travel route before you leave. Let people know you are on your way. If you do get stuck in the snow, stay with your vehicle. Put a brightly colored cloth or bright markers on the antenna or windows so it is visible. Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. Run the engine and heater just long enough to warm the car and conserve fuel.
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