Worried about winter driving? Take time to prep your vehicle and trunk
(BPT) - Face it, winter driving is no fun — and it can be downright dangerous. While you may already be familiar with techniques for careful winter driving, like slowing way down and going easy on the brakes, you could be neglecting crucial safety steps to take even before you get on the road. Along with making sure your vehicle is winter-ready, it’s also vital to pack your trunk with must-have emergency essentials, in case you get stuck somewhere during a severe winter storm.
Approximately 70% of the U.S. population lives in a region that sees five or more inches of snow each year. Between the snow, icy roads and bitter cold, this kind of weather is a real hazard that needs to be taken seriously. Nearly one in five yearly weather-related crashes occurs on snowy, slushy or icy surfaces. To help you and your vehicle be fully prepared for safe travel no matter how frightful the weather becomes, the experts at State Farm offer their recommendations for prepping for winter weather before heading out.
Get your vehicle ready
Every winter, make sure to bring your car in for an overall safety check — with a focus on brakes and tires — so you'll know your car can handle winter weather more effectively. Have the mechanic check all the fluids and test your battery strength. Sub-zero temperatures can challenge most batteries, so don't wait until it's too late to be sure your battery is in top condition.
Beyond just ensuring that your tires are in good shape (with adequate tread life) and that they have the correct air pressure (which can drop along with the temps), installing all-season tires is a good idea if your region is regularly affected by snow and ice. Additional items you’ll be happy that you checked are your wiper blades (installing winter blades can make all the difference when visibility is paramount), making sure your car’s coolant/anti-freeze is fully topped up and that the heating system is in good working order.
Restock your trunk
Now is also the ideal time to get rid of any junk you've got cluttering up your trunk. Instead, make sure you have everything you might need organized, packed and ready to use in case of an on-road emergency — such as items that will keep you warm, connected and able to survive in case you get stuck in your car for an extended period of time.
Here are trunk essentials to make sure to include.
- Hazard triangles
- Jumper cables
- External battery charger
- Tire changing tools
- Spare tire (in good condition)
- Small snow shovel
- Ice scraper
- Fire extinguisher
- Wiper fluid
Supplies to keep you warm and comfortable:
- Hats, gloves, scarves and blanket
- Hand and foot warmers
- Wool socks
- First aid kit
- Thermos/bottles of water
- Shelf-stable snacks in air-tight/critter-proof containers
Tools to stay visible and connected:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Bright cloth to tie on your car and/or flares
- Phone charger (make sure all cell phones and tablets are fully charged before heading out!)
You can adjust the contents of your emergency supply kit to suit your family size and the area where you live. Once your trunk is fully packed with these essentials, you'll feel much more secure venturing out on the road all winter long. Make it a habit to refresh and repack your trunk once or twice a year by adding reminders to your calendar.
Learn more safety tips to help you and your vehicle handle any kind of weather at StateFarm.com/simple-insights.