Across the USA, winter is tapping on the doors and in some areas people have already donned their chunky knit sweaters and wrapped themselves up in thick blankets. Winter lovers are ready to welcome this season with open arms. They are joyous because they have managed to put the sweltering heat behind and all set to stay at home and enjoy drinking hot chocolate.
However, winters are not all sweet; it is one of the most unpredictable seasons. It brings the extremely cold temperature, ice storms, blowing winds and power outages. You don’t know when you can fall victim of the gruesome winter season. Therefore, you should efficiently prepare yourself for this bleak season to avoid any mishappening.
To help you out, we have brought to you the best tips to survive in winter or snowfall situation.
Another year of weird weather
Every year 70% of USA roads get covered with 5+ inches of snow. Driving vehicles on snow-covered areas is not recommended to anyone as it is immensely dangerous.. Approximately 116,800 incidents are recorded every year in winters. Winter snow driving is absolutely dangerous and it is recommended to avoid driving in such situation if possible. However, if you are living in an area where it is common to see snowfall, then it becomes unavoidable to drive.
- Prepare your car before the snow – If you live in an area where it is a common sight to see the buildings and roads all covered in snow during winters, then it becomes essential for you to prepare your car for winter driving.
- Keep car tank full of gas – If you are driving in an extremely cold area or snow-covered area, it is recommended to have your car tank full of gas. There is a valid reason for keeping your car tank full of gas in winters. In extremely cold temperatures, the condensation is likely to occur in the tank, causing the fuel lines to get completely frozen. Having a frozen fuel line can put your life in danger. Therefore, to protect yourself and your family, you should maintain a full car tank during the winter.
- Change oil after regular intervals – If you are living in an area where the temperature can easily fall below the freezing, then you should definitely think about changing the engine oil every 3000 to 5000 miles of driving. While changing the engine oil, use the recommended oil viscosity for winters. Maintain the oil viscosity between 5W-30 during the winters as it will enhance the oil flow speed and minimizes the car breakage situation in winters that you won’t ever expect to happen to you.
- Check your anti-freeze – Before taking your car out of the garage for driving in winters, don’t forget to check the coolant system of your car. To prevent your car getting frozen or boiling over, it should be filled with 50/50 blend of antifreeze and distilled water. You should change the antifreeze of your car by following the manufacturer recommendation. You can take your vehicle to local car repair store to test the mixture. They will charge a nominal fee or do it for free to perform the pressure testing.
- Check your tires – During winters the warm air in tires starts to rise. It cools down the surface of the tires making them go flat. It is common for cars to get slipped or shake during a pullover, therefore,, a lot of accidents happen during the winter season. Rotate and balance your tires with every oil change and keep your tires clean. Tires of your car should not be uneven and tread depth should be at least 4/32”. During winter snow, traction is reduced to some extent which can advance the chances of accidents. If possible, you should consider using snow tires as it will greatly improve the traction of your tires and lower the chances of accidents.
- Check the belts and hoses – The seriously fluctuating temperature of dreary winter can be alarming, especially, for those who are willing to go out. It is hugely important to ensure your safety before driving out in this season. The belts and hoses on your car should be intact before getting out on the road in this season. The life expectancy of belts and hoses reduce in this season. In winters belt gets stretched which can affect or lower the performance of the engine. Therefore, it is essential to check the belts and hoses of your car during winters. You can take the advice of car manufacturers for changing the belts and hoses.
- Wiper and blades – To ensure your safety in winters, check wiper blades of your car whether they are working correctly or not. As it is a common sight to see snow falling during the winter season and it is crucial to keep wipers blade checked as they can help in clearing the vision and preventing you from getting injured.
Understanding Winter Driving Difference
You should know that every year, approximately 900 people lose their lives and 76,000 get injured in snowfall or sleet; therefore, you should be extra careful while driving a vehicle in winters.
How to prepare yourself for winter driving?
- Use the lights – You should use the headlights when the snow starts to fall. It will prevent you from getting indulged in an accident. Having the headlights on will increase the visibility and it prevents you from getting indulged in an accident. Don’t ever assume that the lights are already on as many automatic cars have a feature to automatically turning on the lights which can be misleading.
Always keep your dipped beam headlamps turned on to improve visibility on the road.
- Maintain the appropriate distance between your car and car ahead of you – While driving in snow or winters visibility is expected to be low. So, always maintain at least good distance from the car ahead of you to avoid an accident or sliding in the car in front of you.
Always maintain your speed between 20 km/h to 25km/h to have a safe distance between the vehicle ahead.
- Stay calm & focused while driving– Often people get scared or confused which driving in snow during winters. But one should not panic and should try to stay calm and concentrate on the driving. Don’t think negatively while driving and concentrate on the road as it will minimize the chances of an accident.
- Avoid cruise control – Use manual gears while driving in snowfall. Don’t use cruise control option as it decreases the traction. It is suggested to use the manual gear and keep the speed low because it increases the traction and stops the car from slipping.
Ideally, vehicles require traction to apply brakes effectively that is why it is suggested to maintain a slower speed and gentle turns to ensure safe driving.
- Don’t make drastic moves: As we know that traction is lower during the winters. So don’t accelerate the speed and tries to pass anyone at high speed as it will bring disastrous results. The tires do not get sufficient traction during the winter season so you should not make any drastic moves as it will completely go against you.
- Push the brake pedal gently – It will be a huge mistake to apply brakes suddenly. You should remove your foot from the gas completely. It is difficult to do so, but with practice, you will learn this trick. If you want to stop somewhere then it is suggested to start applying the brakes from several feet back to avoid any accidents.
- Check your tires – The selection of tires becomes very important in the winter. You should inspect the tires before going out in the winters. There are special tires designed for winters that are hugely effective for the winters. In winter, traction becomes a serious issue. \While applying brakes, you should be extra careful. The position of the tire matter a lot when applying the brake. It is being noticed that rear tires lose grip and applying sudden brake during rear tires may lose control and your car can slide in another car ahead of you. Hence, gently apply the brake and steer in the direction where you want to go.
Besides this tire in front direction may also slip. Commonly in winters, the front tires lock up and it becomes hard to apply the brake. Sometimes when you apply the brake it takes time to actually stop the car which can lead to major accidents. Therefore, while driving in winters keep your foot away from the gas and when you see any object or want to pull over gently start applying the brake. Moreover, gently steer in the direction where you want to head without making any hurry.
- Practice – It is not easy to drive vehicles in winter. Generally, it’s a trick which every driver needs to master. To learn how to drive safely in snow or winter you can start practicing from now on. You can take your vehicle out in the open area and gradually start practicing in the snow how to drive your car. You can enhance your winter driving skills greatly in this way.
How to handle winter emergencies
It is frustrating to see your car getting stuck in the snow. In such situation you can use the following tips to get out of this critical situation:-
- Dig out your car – You should try to remove as much snow that surrounds your car. Use shovel or any other way to remove the snow. Do it until you get to see your tires.
Now once you have done with clearing snow surrounded nearby your tires. Try to put some gritty material on your tires to gain the traction. The gritty material will let your tires gain traction and help you get out of this situation quickly.
- Sand – To do so, you can use sand. Keep some sand with you and pour it around the tires and it will help to start your car.
- Salt – Basically, salt won’t help to gain traction, but it helps you in a big way. Spreading salt around your tires will melt down the ice from your tires and make your car get started.
- Floor Mats – Instead of this, you can also use floor mats as it will help your car obtain much-required traction.
Winter Survival Kit
- Keep A Winter Survival Kit in the Car – It is necessary to have a bug out bag winters. It is difficult to know that when you may get stuck in the snowfall, traffic jams or snow storms. Thus, having a winter survival kit will make the things go in your favor.
A winter survival kit must consist of the following things such as:-
- Drinking Water – It is most essential things which you must have in case if you get stuck in the snowfall for a prolonged time period.
- Ice Scrapper – Ice scraper will help you in digging out snow. It is also a must to have things in your survival kit.
- Flashlight – Power outage is one of the most common things in snowfall or snow storm. Thus, having a flashlight will help you in a big way.
- Warm Clothes – You must have warm clothes in your survival kit because you have to spend time in open and temperature may go down. Therefore, you should have warm clothes in your kit.
- Non-Perishable Goods – It is important to have stock of nonperishable goods to survive longer in the snowfall or winters.
Apart from these things, your winter survival kit must have a car charger, shovel, tire chains, sand, flares, gloves, blanket, jumper cables, towel, first aid kit, music and video games.
It is important to plan well in advance if you have to go out in winters. To ensure the safety of yourself and your family you should check your vehicles and make sure that it is ready for the winters. Moreover, you should also practice how to drive in the winters and what to do if you are stuck in the snowfall as it will lower the risk of facing issues in winters. You must check your tires and know when and how to pull brakes in order to drive safely. Most importantly, you must have a winter survival kit in your car as it will save your life in case of emergencies.
Doing all these things will ensure your safety and make sure you enjoy the winter once again.
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