In this article we will go over how to avoid a surprise breakdown, the best way to have a good grip on the snow and ice, specific icy-road driving tips, insider hacks to save on expensive repairs that can be caused by the cold weather, what to do if you get into an accident, what to do if you break down, and the top 14 things your winter car emergency kit should have. Let’s get started!
How to avoid a surprise breakdown
The average life of a car battery is 4 to 6 years. In extreme climates, like our Midwest shops are in, we believe you should test your battery regularly and consider replacement (especially if you don't enjoy surprise breakdowns) if it is 4 years or older. Make the decision to be proactive and give your engine a good strong power supply to help it get started on extremely cold days!
The best way to have grip on the snow & ice
Don't get caught with worn out tires! The vast majority of the vehicles on the road today do NOT need winter tires, they simply need GOOD-NOT- WORN-OUT tires. All-season tires (standard equipment on most vehicles) work very well in the snow when they are not worn out. The depth of your tire's tread is critical when it comes to handling and accelerating in the snow, as well as stopping.
Icy Road Driving
When you start to slip on icy roads, there are a few things that are helpful to keep in mind.
Stay calm. Seriously. That “freak out” moment is usually the time mistakes are made.
Do not overcorrect. Overcorrecting as you start to slip can be detrimental.
Do not slam on your brakes. Instead simply take your foot off the gas.
Turn your wheel the direction the back end of your vehicle is spinning out in.
Re-gain control as if nothing happened.
Save On Costly Repairs
Here are two winter hacks that will save you on costly repairs.
1. Get a Winter Car Wash
Getting car washes on the warmer winter days to wash the salt off the bottom of your car is one of the best things you can do to avoid a build up of rust that eats away at expensive parts under your vehicle.
2. Don’t Let Your Gas Tank Get To Empty
Keep your gas tank at least above a quarter full to avoid your fuel lines freezing. Frozen fuel lines result in costly repairs.
What to do if you’re in an accident
No one wants to find themselves in an accident but they unfortunately happen way too often. Having a plan can help you have peace of mind if you ever find yourself in that situation.
- Take a deep breath and check yourself and others for injuries. Call 911 if necessary.
- Pull to the right side of the road, even onto the grass if possible, and turn on your hazard lights.
- Call the police, whether or not the other driver wants you to or not. (Having a police report on file can be very helpful should you need to make an insurance claim in the future.)
- Assess the damage and get pictures of both vehicles. If it’s a hit and run, try to get their license plate number.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver. Call emergency roadside assistance or a towing company and tell them where your vehicle is located. Have an auto body or auto repair shop phone number & address saved in your phone so you can tell your tow driver where to take your vehicle. Many insurance policies offer towing coverage.
- Call your auto body shop to notify them your vehicle is coming. If it’s an option, ask for a loaner or rental vehicle. Most repair shops are able to send a tow truck for you. Many insurance policies offer rental car coverage.
- Call your insurance company to explain what happened. They will have a few questions for you to get the claim started.
What to do if you break down
An unexpected breakdown can be very stressful. Here are some helpful tips: * Similar to getting into an accident, except less scary *
- Pull to the right side of the road, even onto the grass if possible, and turn on your hazard lights. (This can help you avoid accidents from other drivers)
- Stay in your vehicle, unless you see smoke. Smoke is an indicator that there could be a possibility of a vehicle fire. Then get to a safe place to call 911.
- Call emergency roadside assistance or a towing company and tell them where your vehicle is located. Have an auto body or auto repair shop phone number & address saved in your phone so you can tell your tow driver where to bring your car.
- Call your repair shop to notify them your vehicle is coming. If it’s an option, ask for a loaner vehicle. Most repair shops are able to send a tow truck for you.
What Should My Emergency Kit Have In It?
Are you wondering what a good winter emergency kit should have in it? We’ve put together a list of the top 14 things your winter Car Emergency Kit should have.
Jumper Cables or Jump Box. If you are able to find a jump box, that is a better option than just jumper cables because you don't need another vehicle.
First Aid Kit
High energy foods
Battery Powered Car charger for your cell phone. In case your battery is dead in your car.
Warm outdoor gear (gloves, hat, boots, etc…)
Thanks for reading our article, we hope some of these winter weather driving survival tips and tricks will help you! If you have any winter hacks you live by we would love for you to share them with us!