Pennsylvania winters can be tough on everyone and everything. Drivers, however, should take steps to stay safe on snowy, icy, slippery roads. Here are five things drivers can do to winterize their cars and get ready for a stormy season.
Many people work months or weeks in advance to protect their safety, but these tips could work as a helpful checklist.
- Have your car serviced for winter conditions. It is important to visit a trusted mechanic who can thoroughly examine your car and help you prepare for bad weather. You can have them check your battery, your brakes, your spark plugs and your coolant system to ensure everything is in proper working order.
- Pay attention to your tires. While it might not make sense – or even be legal – to use chains in many parts of the Midwest or Mid Atlantic, it is still wise to consider your tires. You should at least have all-weather tires if not tires specifically designed for use in winter. Additionally, you should keep a close eye on tire pressure throughout the colder months.
- Keep vehicle fluids topped off. From your windshield wiper fluid to gas, it is crucial to keep these levels high to stay safe on the road.
- Pack a winter safety kit. It is smart to have a kit in your car in case of a stall or collision on the road. A toolkit, shovel, thermal blanket, flashlight, first aid kit, food and water form the backbone of a preparedness kit. You can also add jumper cables, matches, road flares and bags of sand or cat litter to use as traction on a slick road.
- Pay attention to weather conditions. While it might not be something you can do to your car, it is wise to start building these habits as we move into rough weather. Watch the weather reports and traffic reports to see if you should start early, pick a different route or simply stay off the roads. Additionally, you can alter your driving habits on winter roads. Slow down, increase follow distance and practice how to control your car in a skid.
While it would be advisable to recommend that everyone stay in when the weather turns bad, that would be impossible. Whether it is work, school, or emergency trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, people will need to drive no matter the road conditions. With these tips in mind, though, you can attempt to stay safe while driving in the snowy weather.