The cold, blustery weather of winter has arrived, bringing along with it the most frigid months of the year and dangerous elements for driving. The Federal Highway Administration reported that of the 6.3 million annual average car crashes, 24% or approximately 1.5 million crashes are due to adverse weather such as wet, icy, snowy or foggy conditions. Meemic Insurance Company, a Michigan-based insurance provider offering various coverage options to teachers and other educational employees, is reminding motorists to take it slow and be aware of the increased risk of slick roads and highways.
Meemic Insurance offers these 7 safety tips for driving in winter weather conditions to help drivers avoid costly accidents and arrive safely:
1. Fill ‘er up – It is important to keep a full gas tank year round, but especially during the freezing months. This avoids condensation that occurs when fuel levels run near empty. Water build-up in gas tanks can find its way into fuel lines and freeze, cutting off the flow of gasoline to the engine and leaving you unable to reach your final destination or stranded.
2. Switch ’em out – It is good practice to replace your windshield wipers and replenish the windshield wiper fluid to aid in maintaining visibility through snow or ice while driving.
3. Test it out – If you have 4-wheel drive, make sure it works. Odds are it is not often used during the warmer seasons. Also remember that this feature provides more traction for your vehicle and does not make your tires grip any better, so still take extra care in icy conditions.
4. Turn up the heat – Shivering can distract from driving if you are concentrated on trying to warm up. Getting your heater checked is a good idea so you are not freezing, uncomfortable and sidetracked behind the wheel.
5. Charge it – Car batteries typically last between 3 to 5 years and can be a real pain and hazard if it gives way in cold weather. Even if your battery is fairly new, it is a good idea to check it for corrosion, fraying or other potential issues. Assess the fluid in your battery and if it is low, fill it to the appropriate mark with distilled water.
6. Be safe – Have an emergency kit stored in your trunk in case of a break down. Some items to include are flares, flashlights, various fluids, extra boots, gloves, a coat, a blanket and an ice scraper.
7. Under pressure – Tire pressure can be a big factor in winter driving. When the roads are icy, your vehicle needs all the traction it can get and if your tires are deflated, it closes the treads which leads to more slipping and sliding than necessary. Be sure to put in the amount of air required by your owner’s manual.