Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Vehicle Prepardeness for Winter Driving

     It's that time of year again.  It is December, many of us will be out of the roads visiting friends and family for the holidays.  However it is also that time of year that winter storms have started sweeping across the country.  You don't have to be a prepper or survivalist to know that you need to make sure your car is prepared for winter weather.

     We all understand driving safe in winter weather however preparing for driving in winter weather should happen largely before you even get on the road.  With the ever present possibility of car breakdowns and with winter weather thrown in, you should always make sure your vehicle is in good working order and that it has all the equipment you need if you do run into trouble.

Vehicle Maintenance
     There are a number of different things to check on your vehicle before you get on the road, especially if you are going to be driving a long way.

     The first thing to check is the fluids on your car.  This includes oil, windshield wiper fluid and coolant.  When checking your windshield wiper fluid, keep in mind that you should make sure that the windshield wiper fluid is rated for freezing weather.

     Before traveling you should check the air pressure on your tires.  Under inflated tires are the leading cause of tire failures on the road, and in winter it is easy for your tires to lose pressure.  In cold weather, the air in your tires becomes more dense, and so it takes up less space.  The result is that the air pressure on your tires goes down.  Your tires can lose up to a pound of pressure for every ten degree drop in temperature.

     If you have a new battery in your car you probably don't have to worry about it on a trip.  However if you battery is three years or older, it is a good idea to have your battery checked before traveling.  It could mean the difference between getting safely to your destination and having your car die on the side of the road.  Most auto stores offer free battery checks, so make sure you have it looked at before traveling long distances.

Vehicle Supplies
     One of the ways to make sure that you are prepared for winter weather is to make sure that you have supplies in your vehicle in case you run into trouble.

-For Your Car:
     In your car you should keep supplies for your car in the event that it breaks down.  These supplies can help you get back on the road, or at least make sure that someone can find you and help you out if trouble strikes.  These kinds of supplies include keeping extra car fluids, like oil and coolant, a spare tire, jumper cables, and extra car parts like belts and spark plugs if you know how to replace them.

     You also want to make sure you have basic winter car tools such as an ice scraper and snow brush, as well as something that can help give you traction if you get stuck in the snow.  There are a number of options for traction such as sand, cat litter, and traction mats.  Other supplies that you should keep in mind are supplies that will allow you to be more visible such as road flares and reflective flags which can help people find you when you are stranded on the road.

-For Yourself:
     In the event that you end up stranded, you want to make sure you have the supplies you need to keep yourself comfortable till you get out of the situation.  This means you want warm extra clothing and blankets to help keep yourself and others in the car warm.  You also want to include nonperishable food, such as granola bars, beef jerky and energy bars, as well as enough water for everyone in the car.  It is recommended to have at least a gallon of water per person.

     You also want to make sure you have some kind of communication equipment.  A cell phone with a charger is a good option.  If you have a car charger you can still charge your phone if even if you can get your car to move.  However if your car is not working, a car charger will not work for your phone.  That is why it may be a good idea to look into purchasing a battery operated phone charger.  Just remember to have batteries in your car as well.

     Make sure you are checking up on your car and keeping it in good order, and make sure that you have all the survival supplies that you need in your car.  That way if you'll be traveling for the holidays, you will always be prepared, no matter what comes your way.  Stay prepared and have a great holiday season everyone!


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