Top Five Winter Safety Tips for Your Car
Article Provided by AmTrust Financial Services, a Pearl carrier partner
Your personal vehicle is likely well-prepared for the clear roads and blue skies of summer, but it might not be ready to tackle winter’s heavy snowfalls, icy streets, and decreased visibility.
To help you prepare for cold weather conditions, we’re sharing our top five safety tips to help keep you and your car safe.
Change Vehicle Fluids
The first step in winterizing any vehicle is a full examination of its fluid levels. Ideally, a professional mechanic should perform this check-up. Three fluids need to be monitored during this step for their amount and consistency:
Coolant: If you live in a colder climate, it’s important to add the proper mixture of antifreeze to your coolant, which helps prevent the radiator from freezing in winter.
Engine Oil: If your vehicle runs on thick oil, you may want to consider replacing it with a thinner one in winter. 5W-30 oil has better viscosity in winter than 20W-50, so many mechanics and automobile manufacturers recommend this substitution in colder months.
Windshield Wiper Fluid: Switch to freeze-resistant wiper fluid when the temperatures start falling. In cold weather, you need your vehicle’s windshields free of ice crystals, snow, and streaks to avoid hampering your drivers’ vision and preparedness.
Examine Vehicle Batteries
Ever noticed how your cellphone’s battery struggles to hold a charge in cold weather? A vehicle battery can also experience reduced capacity in winter. To help ensure your battery stays well-charged, perform a full examination of the battery and its cables, fluid, and terminals. If a battery is more than three years old or shows significant signs of wear and tear, consider replacement to ensure you don’t get stranded in the cold.
Switch to Winter-Ready Tires
Safe wintertime driving depends on the health of your tires. If your tires are worn or air pressure is low, your vehicle could experience reduced traction on slippery streets, leading to greater risk of skidding or spinning out. In cities with high levels of snowfall, snow tires are a must. These specialized tires are designed to grip snowy terrain, decrease slippage, and increase your ability to control your vehicle. Additionally, always use wipers, defrosters, and headlights to improve visibility.
Equip Your Vehicle with a Cold Weather Emergency Kit
During chilly months, staying safe means always preparing for the worst. If your vehicle stalls during its journey, or is involved in a traffic accident, it’s essential you have access to an emergency kit. This kit should contain winter-specific supplies to keep you warm and fed. In certain situations, the provisions should help you return to the road or call for help. These safety items could include: a bag of sand, a shovel, an ice scraper and brush, a flashlight, a battery- or solar-powered radio, snacks, water, and warm blankets, gloves, and a hat.
Double-Check Your Auto Insurance Policy
Finally, to keep your vehicle protected, review your auto insurance coverage and claims procedures. In the event of a wintertime accident, it’s important to know your vehicle is protected and ready for the season’s slippery, treacherous roads.
This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice.
Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors.
AmTrust maintains this risk management article as a service for its customers. These files are provided in the spirit of professionals sharing their work with each other. They are intended to give you a place to start when finding information about a particular safety question. They are not intended to provide authoritative answers to safety and health questions. The recommendations in these articles may differ from state and local practices. Before using the information here, the accuracy and appropriateness of the information to your specific situation should be verified by a person qualified to assess all factors involved.