Protect you, your loved ones and your car from the wrath of Old Man Winter.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 43% of all weather-related accidents occur in winter conditions. That means during the winter months, it’s imperative to be smart on the road and take care of the vehicle you’ll be driving during these hazardous times.
Indiana has been known for its fluctuation in weather. Sometimes that looks like a 60-degree day in December followed by a snow storm the next day, snow in April or an expected sleet storm that makes the roads dicey. Whatever the weather may look like, you should continue to check local news or your weather app to get a glimpse of how to prepare for what’s to come.
Top six tips to prepare your car for the winter
Though you can’t control the weather, there are ways to prepare your car to help minimize the chances of you getting into an accident. You need to be aware of the weather and how it can affect the roads and your car. Here are the top six tips on how to best prepare your car for the winter.
Check the tires – Make sure your tires still have good tread. To check, turn a penny upside down and on its side and place it in the tire grooves, the rubber should cover Lincoln’s hairline. Make sure the tires have enough air pressure and have been rotated recently.
De-ice windshields – Use a windshield coating that helps prevent ice buildup and use windshield-wiper fluid that has an ice melt additive. If your car is parked outside of your apartment or home, before leaving take time to scrape the ice and snow off of your car windows and turn your car on to defrost and heat the inside.
Fluids – Even in cold temperatures, your engine needs to cool. Be sure to check your coolant and antifreeze levels. Don’t know how to do this yourself? Go online and look up videos on how to check your fluid or visit a car store near you so they can show you.
Improve visibility – Clear all windows and windshields of snow and ice, and don’t forget to clear your headlights and brake lights, too. You need to do this no matter how long your journey is. It may be tempting to clear only half your front windshield, but it is crucial to clear the entire thing for maximum visibility.
Have a thorough tune up – Have a certified mechanic check your car, including the battery, belts, hoses, oil and brakes. This is important because if you don’t get this checked before the winter months, something could go wrong, and you’ll be stranded in the freezing weather. Be proactive now rather than reactive later!
Be prepared for emergencies – Have an emergency kit on hand stocked with a flashlight, jumper cables, a blanket, a shovel and sand or kitty litter. Other things to include in your emergency kit are gloves, a hat, hand warmers and always have a winter coat in your car –no matter how far you plan on driving. This way, if something does happen, you will be prepared for the unexpected.
Winter driving is just as hard on your vehicle as it is on you. It can be stressful navigating in bad weather. That’s why when it comes to weather preparedness it is better to be proactive rather than reactive. But, sometimes, even when it seems like you have prepared as much as you can and have done your due diligence, the unexpected still happens. That’s why it is also important to remember these tips for if you do get into an accident in the winter:
When you get into an accident in the snow the first thing you need to do is put your hazards on and check if everyone is okay.
If your car can still operate, pull over to the side of the highway or into a parking lot depending on where the accident happened.
Find warmth! If you are on the highway stay in your vehicle and get your emergency kit to help bundle up. If the accident happens in a town or city, get out of the car and find somewhere warm to go indoors.
Call 911 and tell them what happened and your current location. This is where it is important to stay as calm as possible so help can come as soon as they can.
Once help arrives, they will help with traffic and gather evidence of the crash. If you can, you will want to take photos of the scene of both your vehicle and any others that were involved in the crash.
If someone has an injury, seek medical attention right away.
Once you submit your claim online or with your agent, one of our trustworthy claims representatives will contact you directly to collect more information and get the claim moving.
We hope you never have to experience getting into an accident during the winter, but if you do, you now have tips to guide you along the way. Old Man Winter is not someone you want to mess around with when it comes to being safe, so take care of yourself, your loved ones and your vehicle this winter to ensure it is as safe as possible.
*The information in this article was compiled from a variety of sources and is intended to provide helpful tips only.