When the forecast calls for snow, sleet or ice, the safest course of action is to stay off the roads. But if there’s somewhere you need to be, these winter driving tips will help you prepare for safe travel.
1. Get a Pre-Winter Check-Up for Your Car
Before the season even starts, take your car in for recommended car maintenance to ensure it’s ready for winter driving. Now’s the time to mount your winter tires and check your battery, heater, tire pressure and defroster.
2. Pack a Winterizing Kit
Pull together these winter driving essentials before heading out, and keep them in your vehicle all season long.
- Extra antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid
- A shovel
- An ice scraper
- A flashlight
- Bags of sand or kitty litter to help you gain traction on slippery surfaces
- Extra drinking water
- Nonperishable snacks
3. Top off Your Tank
Don’t make the common driving mistake of driving on an empty tank. Keep your gas tank full, as bad weather can cause detours and delays. Plus, a full tank of gas isn’t as likely to freeze your car’s gas line.
4. Know the Road Conditions
Before you venture out, check your state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) website to get the scoop on road conditions. Even partially snow-covered roads can be hazardous, so it’s important to exercise caution.
5. Be Prepared for a Roadside Emergency
Ask your insurance agent about adding emergency roadside assistance coverage to your auto policy so you’ll have reliable help whenever you need it.
6. Keep Your Car Fog-, Frost- and Ice-Free
Before you get in your car, clear any snow from your tailpipe. Turn on your car and the defroster, then scrape your windshields so your visibility isn’t compromised by frost, ice or snow. For foggy windows, run the air conditioner or crack your windows.
7. Cut the Distractions
Concentrate on the road by eliminating driving distractions like your phone, food and friends. Put away your phone, turn off the music, and ask your passengers to keep their voices down. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
8. Slow Down and Keep Your Distance
Not only do you need to focus on your driving, but you also have to be alert and aware of the cars around you. Don’t use cruise control, and avoid sudden stops and quick direction changes. Be extra cautious on bridges, ramps and overpasses, as they may freeze first. And remember this crucial winter driving tip: If your wipers are on, your lights should be on, too.
Protection in Every Season
Don’t leave yourself stranded this winter — talk to your Farm Bureau agent today to make sure your vehicle’s coverage is up to date all year long.