While I live in Florida, where the weather is just starting to be tolerable after the long, hot summer, I grew up in New England, where winter sometimes feels like it goes on way too long. I was talking to my mother recently, and she told me that they were having a hard freeze that night! I remember that last year, there was a snowstorm right around Halloween. Winter is coming up quickly for those living in the northern half of the country. Since as moms, it’s our job to get our kids around to all of the places that they need to be safely, this is a great time to go through the process of making sure that the family vehicles are up to par and ready to cope with the rigors of winter. Before it hits full force in your area, go through this list of ways to get your car prepared for winter:
- Check your wiper blades. It’s annoying to have a streak of water across your windshield in the spot that the wiper becomes loose, but it’s downright dangerous to not have your wipers in tip-top condition through the winter. You need to be able to remove snow as it falls, as any buildup will affect your vision, which is of the utmost importance during a snowstorm! Have them replaced if they need it and, while you’re at it, make sure that your wiper fluid tank is full of the non-freezing fluid that you need. Keep an extra gallon in the trunk to fill it up again, too.
- Have your tires checked and maybe changed. You need good tread and correct tire pressure in order to navigate slippery streets after it snows or ices. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and has hills and curvy roads as well, you might want to invest in snow tires for the most car safety. These get switched before and after each winter; make sure you know the cost of mounting and balancing before you decide to buy.
- Make an emergency kit. In the summer, a stalled car is inconvenient, but in the winter, it can be deadly. Pack a kit with extra water, nonperishable food, blankets, extra boots and gloves, a first aid kit, a bag of kitty litter (for traction in case you get stuck) and a small shovel. Don’t leave home in bad weather or for far drives without your cellphone, and make sure you have normal vehicle emergency items, like a spare tire, jumper cables and flares.
- Keep your gas tank full. This is good practice for any time of year, but when money is tight and the prices of gas are sky-high, it’s one that many of us ignore. When the tank gets to half full, fill it up again. A full tank enables you to run the engine intermittently if you get stuck, which will keep things warm (periodically brush any snow off of the exhaust pipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning if you must do this), and it also saves you from the possibility of a snowstorm closing down every gas station in town and leaving you stranded without any gas.
Take an afternoon to get all of this taken care of, and you’ll be able to rest easy, knowing that you will be as safe as possible while navigating the roads this winter. Do you have any other great car safety tips to share? Let us know in the comments section below!