Tips for Driving Through the Winter Months

Tips for Driving Through the Winter Months

Driving in the winter months can be tricky. You want to stay safe and have your vehicle prepared for winter driving. It can be difficult to prepare an older car for the winter months, especially if it leaks fluids or parts don’t work.  In that case, you might want to consider getting something newer to drive. There are plenty of newer cars to choose from at some of the car auctions in Dallas that are open to the public, where you will find a large selection of vehicles to choose from.

In addition to purchasing a newer car, here are some other tips for driving through the winter months:

Emergency Supplies – Pack a winter weather kit for your car. This kit can contain items such as food, water, extra mittens, socks, medications, sweaters, and blankets. It should also have emergency flares, flashlights, matches, a small shovel, a neon streamer, a solar powered phone charger, an ice scraper, and a first aid kit. If you find yourself stranded in the snow you will want to conserve as much fuel as possible, so pack warm clothing and blankets. The solar charger can help get your phone working without needing to rely on your vehicle’s power.

Check the Tires – The air pressure in your tires will be different in the winter than in the summer, so make sure that all four tires and the spare are properly inflated. Your tires should also have more than enough tread on them. Tires with worn treads will slide on the snow and ice.

Fill Up with Fuel – Always keep your vehicle’s fuel tank filled up. Multi-car accidents on snowy and icy roads can back up traffic for miles, and there will be no way to tell when the roads will be cleared; it could take hours in some cases. You will want to run the engine only long enough to take off the chill to conserve fuel. You don’t want to run out of gas while stuck in traffic in the cold.

Cruise Control – Do not use cruise control on snowy and icy roads. You want to accelerate and decelerate slowly to maintain traction with the road, and this is best done manually. It will take longer than usual to slow down or stop for a stop sign, so you will want to maintain control at all times. You should drive slower on winter roads as well for better traction.

Safe Following Distance – Since it takes longer to stop on ice and snow, increase your following distance to six or seven seconds. This will give you more time to slow down if needed.

Keep Moving – Stopping and starting in the winter is harder due to the loss of traction, and doing so uses up a lot of fuel. If you can slow down rather than stop for a light that is going to change to green soon, you will save on fuel. Don’t stop while trying to go up a hill, even if it means slowly crawling up the hill. If possible, get a running start on the hill and keep moving steadily. By trying to power your way to the top, you will spin your wheels and use up fuel.

Brakes – Even ABS brakes can have trouble in the winter weather, but if you keep steady pressure on the brake pedal you can slow down without skidding or spinning your wheels.

While the number one tip for winter driving is to stay home, that’s not always feasible. If you need to take a long-distance trip then here are some tips to help keep you safe:

Vehicle Check – Make sure that your car is winterized before you travel in the winter. Take it to your favorite mechanic or dealership and make sure that your tires are good, fluid levels are proper, the anti-freeze is the right mix, and your defroster and heater are working.

Weather Check – Check what the forecast says for your destination and the route along the way. If the forecast calls for blizzard conditions, you might want to postpone your trip by a day or two to be safe.

Share Your Plan – If you must travel, then let your friends and family know your travel plans. This way they can keep an eye out for you and act quickly if you don’t show up on time.

Despite the best plans, you might find yourself stuck in the snow or on the highway. Remember to stay with your vehicle in this situation. It will be easier for people to find you, and you’ll have some shelter. Tie a bright cloth or neon streamer to your antenna, so that you can be seen. If the snow is drifting, use your small shovel to dig around the car, but do not let the exhaust get covered; this can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. When cleaning around the car, make sure you do not overexert yourself and know your limitations. Snow can get heavy.

If you maintain your vehicle properly and use extra caution, driving through the winter months shouldn’t be a problem for you.

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