Herb's Letter - December 2019

Living in New England, the weather tends to have a mind of its own. Snow can come at any time; we’ve even got some flurries already this month. Driving in the winter can be harrowing, especially in snowstorms and icy conditions. I thought I would share with you a few simple tips to get your car ready for winter and how to drive safely in whatever weather Mother Nature decides to send our way.

Along with regular maintenance, it is always good to “winterize” your vehicle before the freezing temperatures kick in, and the snow starts coming. 

Here are some ways to winterize your vehicle:

  • Test your battery; battery power drops as the temperature drops
  • Make sure the cooling system is in good working order
  • Have winter tires with a deeper, more flexible tread put on your car
  • If using all-season tires, check the tread on your tires and replace if less than 2/32 of an inch
  • Check the tire pressure; tire pressure drops as the temperature drops
  • Check your wiper blades and replace if needed
  • Add wiper fluid rated for -30 degrees
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze

I was reading an article by AAA that stated: every vehicle should have an emergency supply kit. I agree! Being prepared for anything is the best way to keep you, and your passengers safe. Given that some of us travel further than others, and may require more of these items than your average commuter, everyone is better safe than sorry! 

Here are some items that your vehicle’s emergency supply kit should include:

  • A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod jack
  • Jumper cables
  • Tool kit and/or a multipurpose utility tool
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Reflective vest in case you need to walk to get help
  • Car charger for your cell phone
  • Fire extinguisher

You should always have a snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, and a blanket in your vehicle during the winter months.

Driving in wintry, icy conditions can be nerve racking to say the least. Driving slow in the snow, and putting winter tires on your vehicle are both good but sometimes the weather wins. If you follow these tips for safe driving it should help you avoid a crash:

  • Avoid using cruise control in wintry conditions
  • Steer in the direction of a skid, so when your wheels regain traction, you don’t have to overcorrect to stay in your lane
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly
  • Increase following distance to 8 to 10 seconds
  • If possible, don't stop when going uphill

Living in New England, I’m sure we’re all pretty used to the unpredictable weather we get, but it’s always good to make sure you are prepared for the worst. No matter how long you have been driving in wintry conditions, every storm is different, so make sure you drive cautiously and keep yourself, your passengers, and others on the road safe. 

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with great food, and even better company! 

 

Categories: News