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Wilmington 302-427-9500 Bear 302-834-8484 Milford 302-422-6705 Lewes 302-550-0155

How Can I Prepare My Car for Snow?

preparing car

When winter weather hits, driving may be unavoidable. While it is advisable to stay off the roads when there is an approaching winter storm, there are some ways drivers can reduce their risk of a car accident.

Additionally, preparing for winter driving should start long before the snow begins. Drivers should get ready for the cold weather well in advance by having their car checked, stocking it with emergency essentials, and reviewing some driving tips to stay safe.

Vehicle Maintenance

Drivers should make sure to have their cars checked out in anticipation of the cold temperatures and slipper weather conditions. The combination of wet conditions and the temperature dips causes dangerously slippery roads.

Among other basic safety checks, your pre-winter vehicle assessment should include examining the following:

  • Tire tread: Tires that are worn or damaged do not offer good traction, leaving drivers and other road users at risk. The presence of ice or snow on the roads significantly increases the risk. Have a professional take a look at your tires before the winter begins. Worn tires should be replaced.
  • Tire pressure: As the temperature gets colder, tire pressure is affected. The cold causes the air to contract, leading to the need for car owners to add air to their tires to maintain adequate tire pressure. Without enough air pressure in your tires, you may experience issues with road grip and driver control.
  • Battery: A drained or corroded battery can cause trouble for you during the winter. The cold can cause stress to the battery. If it gives out and leaves you stranded, that could be a big problem in dangerously low temperatures. It is best to get your battery checked to ensure it has the power it needs to get through the season.
  • Fluids: Your car’s fluids should be checked throughout the year, but winter is an especially important time to ensure that fluids are topped off or replaced. Antifreeze keeps your car’s engine from freezing, but it is also important to make sure your oil is changed and your windshield wiper fluid is full.

Emergency Kit

Every driver should have a few items in their car at all times, including a flashlight, road flares, and a small collection of basic tools. You should also bring drinking water, snacks, and a charged cellphone on every trip in case you breakdown or become involved in an accident that leaves you stranded.

In winter, however, there are a few specific items that you should consider adding to your emergency supplies. Having a blanket might come in handy if you are stuck on the side of the road in winter. An ice scraper and a snow shovel should also be kept in your trunk to help deal with the elements. Finally, a pair of warm gloves and a hat are nice to have in a cold-weather emergency.

Safe Winter Driving Tips

Some important winter driving tips include:

  • Allow extra travel time. Dangerous winter road conditions may involve slippery surfaces or poor visibility that call for drivers to inch along in order to maintain safety. Drivers delayed by weather must not lose sight of safety.
  • Remove all snow and ice. Use an ice scraper to clear all windows and mirrors to establish safe visibility from the driver’s seat. Be sure to remove accumulated snow from the car to keep it from sliding off as you drive and becoming a threat to other road users.
  • Be careful accelerating and decelerating. On wet or icy winter roads, increasing speed too suddenly can cause you to lose control of your car, and slamming your brakes can cause spinouts. Instead, ease into your stops and starts if possible, and avoid abrupt use of either the gas pedal or the brake.
  • Beware of black ice. Black ice is ice that is barely detectible because it blends in with the asphalt. Drivers must be aware of the possibility of black ice at all times.

What if I Get Stuck in a Snowstorm?

If you find yourself stuck in a snowstorm, it is best to pull over and wait it out. Trying to drive through a storm puts you and others in danger. If you must drive in order to deal with an emergency or to get somewhere safe, drive slowly, and use your headlights and emergency blinkers to make yourself visible to others.

When it comes to icy roads, you should drive slowly, and if you encounter a patch of ice, do not slam on your brakes. Instead, turn your wheel in the direction your car is sliding until you regain control.

If your car becomes stuck in the snow, you may be able to dig your car out with a shovel, but you should take breaks so you do not exhaust yourself. Using road salt may help melt any ice or provide traction for your tires. Spinning your wheels may work against you if it causes the car to dig itself deeper. If you must rest or take refuge in the running car, make sure the tail pipe is free of obstruction to avoid carbon monoxide exhaust from backing up into the car.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help You After a Winter Collision

It is important to prepare your car for cold weather ahead of time, but some motorists will not take necessary precautions. If you have been injured by a negligent driver, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you pursue legal action. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. From our offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

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