Harsh winters and less-than-ideal driving conditions are a fact of life in New England. If we could all avoid driving when roadways are covered with snow and ice, winterizing our vehicles wouldn’t be so important. But the reality is, most of us can’t avoid driving when the weather outside is frightful. The need to commute to work, shuttle the kids to and from school and sports practices, and run errands doesn’t go away during the winter months. Read on for more information about how to dramatically reduce your risk of being involved in a winter weather-related motor vehicle accident.
Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold
Follow the tips below to ensure that your vehicle is ready for winter driving conditions.
- Check your windshield wipers. The life cycle of a wiper blade is not particularly long; they generally need replaced every year. Get new wipers if you’re due, and make sure that your wiper fluid is full while you’re at it.
- Get an oil change and ensure that you use the right type of oil for the season. Oil thickens when the temperatures drop, so you may need a thinner oil than you would use during summer months.
- Keep your gas tank as close to full as possible during winter months. If you get stranded, you can’t run the heat if your car runs out of gas. A Boston auto accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a car accident.
- Take your vehicle in for a check up. Winter weather can take a toll on batteries, belts, and hoses. To give your car a chance, it’s a good idea to ensure that these parts are in solid, working order at the start of the season. Repair shops can determine if your battery is strong enough to hold a charge, and that your belts and hoses don’t have excessive wear and tear. If you have four-wheel drive, your mechanic can also make sure that it’s working properly.
- Good tires are essential during winter months. Poor inflation and / or tread can result in poor traction, a situation which is only made worse when roads are covered in snow, slush, or ice. Tire pressure generally drops with outside temps. Consult your owner’s manual to determine what your tire pressure should be, and fill it to that level. Keep in mind that over-inflated tires can be just as dangerous as under-inflated tires. Also ensure that your tires have adequate tread. “Bald” tires can be deadly any time of year, but especially in winter. If it’s time to invest in new tires, consider getting snow tires.
- Put an “emergency kit” in your truck. If you have an accident or break down on a less-traveled roadway or late at night, you may be stranded for a few hours or more. Keep yourself safe and comfortable by storing the following items in your car during winter months:
- Boots, gloves, and scarf
- Set of warm clothes, including socks
- Bottles of water and non-perishable snacks
- Snow shovel
- Ice scraper
- Spare tire
- Jumper cables
- Tools to change a tire
- First-aid kit
- A bag of sand or kitty litter for traction if stuck in snow
- If you do get stranded, stay with your vehicle unless you know exactly where you are and how to quickly walk to safety. If you have cell reception, call for help. Light your flares and place at both ends of your vehicle. A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a car accident.