With the summer coming to an official close, it is already time to start thinking about the winter season. Up here in Connecticut, the autumn is usually pretty temperate and agreeable. But surprise rainstorms and out-of-place snowstorms are never completely out of the question, creating dangerous driving conditions across the state. Rather than hoping the weather stays calm, why not prepare for the snow, black ice, and frost just in case it doesn’t? At the very least, you will be ready for the weather that is sure to come with December.
Five Helpful Tips for Driving in the Winter
- Maintenance: Before the first snowfall hits the streets of Connecticut, you should get a routine maintenance checkup on your vehicle to catch any potential problems before you’re in the thick of it. Make certain the exhaust system is thoroughly inspected for efficiency, as just a slight amount of snow clogged into a bad system can cause an extremely dangerous backup of fumes to enter the cabin.
- Winter supplies: You should always keep spare and emergency supplies in your car but what you need in the winter is different than what you need for any other season. In addition to the norms like nonperishable foods, water and first aid, your winter supply kit should also include a spare set of winter clothing complete with gloves, a sandbag or kitty litter for traction in a pinch, and tire chains. Ask your friends, family, and mechanic, too, if they have any smart winter supply items you may want to add to your kit.
- Essential “oils”: Your automobile relies on a mix of different oils and liquids to continue operating as normal. The cold bite of the winter can really wreak havoc on the whole system, but knowing what to do about the essential “oils” beforehand can help.
a.Coolant will need to be flushed and refilled to ensure the system is healthy and won’t freeze itself over.
b.Oil should be replaced as part of routine maintenance to ensure your engine is ready for the upcoming hardships.
c.Antifreeze is clutch if you want your engine to remain unfrozen; some people keep spare antifreeze bottles in their vehicle, but this may not be the safest practice, as they can leak unexpectedly.
d.Wiper fluid has to be switched out for “winter wiper fluid” that is specially designed to not freeze in cold weather; some brands actually help break up ice and frost on windshields when applied.
e.Gas tanks should be kept full when possible and never allowed to dip below 50% capacity; a halfway empty gas tank is much more likely to cause gas line freezes, and you also don’t want to realize you’re in the middle of a snowy highway with no gas left.
- Tire condition: The cold air of the winter season is denser than warm, humid air that floats around most of the year. This pressure difference will be reflected in your tires. Check their pressure gauge often to spot any unsuitable pressure levels and adjust accordingly. Don’t forget to also check the tread depth of your tires; you may even want to talk to your mechanic about getting a set of winter tires that are crafted for the snow and ice.
- Slide control: The best drivers in the world can hit a patch of invisible black ice and start to slide out of control. If you find that you are sliding and fishtailing, you should release the brakes and steadily turn your steering wheel in the direction the rear of your car is sliding. A useful tip is to look where you want to go and turn the wheel in that direction. Try your best to make gradual movements so you do not overcorrect and start fishtailing in the opposite direction. However, if that does happen, just repeat the slide control process until it is over.
In case you do get hurt in a car accident, whether it is caused by the snow, ice, or just a negligent driver, you should contact the Law Offices of Brian J. Mongelluzzo, LLC. Our Waterbury personal injury lawyers offer no recovery, no fee agreements and free case evaluations, so you can get started on your claim with no risk to you.