Road Ready: Prepping Your Vehicle for Winter Weather
According to varying reports, the average American spends anywhere from 600 to 800 hours in his or her car every year. Whether commuting to work, going out on the town, or traveling to visit friends and family this holiday season, chances are you will face some chilly winter temperatures, and maybe even harsh winter weather, in the months ahead.
Ready Shelby knows that being prepared for a possible emergency is the best way to stave off further complications that may arise; and while several people stock their homes with extra water, candles and first aid kits, most people neglect to ready their cars for emergencies, particularly in the wintertime. Follow these tips to winterize your ride and you’ll be better equipped to manage a winter roadside emergency.
Wear a coat. Even if you’ll be snuggly in the heat of your vehicle, and you’re just going up the road to a hearth-side affair, grab a coat on the way out the door. If your car breaks down, you obviously won’t be able to rely on its heat, so a coat is your first and easiest defense.
Throw a blanket in your trunk. Not only will a blanket keep you warm if you need it, but the extra material might come in handy for cleaning up spills, bandaging wounds or even throwing down in front of a spinning tire for some traction if your vehicle gets stuck.
Stash a snack. It’s a great idea to keep dry snacks with you in case of an emergency in many situations, but having some granola bars or fruit snacks and some water in your vehicle during the winter might be a lifesaver. Getting stranded in ice and snow is way more survive-able if you have sustenance.
Fill your tank. In winter weather, it’s even more important to keep your gas tank as close to full as possible. You never know when you might be stranded or stuck in traffic – or when it’s going to just be too cold to get to the gas station. In areas with extremely harsh winter weather, there is a threat of gas shortages or gas stations losing power, among other things. If you have the room, it might be worth it to carry an extra tank of gas.
Load up the winter gear. Make sure you have an ice scraper in your car when the temperatures start to drop. Depending on your commute or the road maintenance in your area, you might even elect to tote a snow shovel during the heavier snowfall times.
Update your kits. Make sure your first aid kit and emergency kit in your car still have all of their contents and that nothing needs to be updated or replaced. Some great items to have on hand in addition to the usual list are a whistle; road flares; small tools, such as a wrench or screwdriver; and a flashlight, preferably with a hand-crank because batteries can die or freeze. You also might consider purchasing a solar charger for your cell phone.
Pack a map. Many cars have GPS these days, so maps have sort of become obsolete. However, in case of an emergency where your car dies or you need to abandon your vehicle, keep local maps in the glove compartment so you can find your way.
Prep your vehicle. Last, but not least, make sure your car itself is ready for the winter weather ahead. It would be beneficial to have your oil, battery and tires checked before the chill sets in.
These suggestions for being ready might seem a little extreme now, but in the event that you encounter an emergency on the road, you’ll be thankful that you’re prepared. And, remember, accidents and car problems can happen even in short trips up the road or around the corner, so just be ready this winter wherever the road may take you.