If you take time to research different approaches for minimizing your chances of causing or becoming involved in a crash, you’ll quickly find that winterizing your vehicle is at the top of the list. This information might catch you a bit off-guard if you’ve only ever heard the term “winterize” used in conjunction with storing a boat or camper or prepping a home for the winter.
You can take steps to optimize your vehicle’s functionality and safety during the winter months, so read on to learn what those are. These strategies will hopefully keep you on the road and accident-free during some of the most bitterly cold days of the year.
What Are Effective Strategies for Winterizing Your Car?
The tire manufacturer Bridgestone compiled a list of different tips for winterizing your car. Some of the standout recommendations that the tire maker made included:
Ensure you switch over to your winter tires. While some motorists drive on all-season tires year-round, other drivers have ones specially designated for winter weather. All-season tires are formulated using rubber compounds that tend to harden when exposed to below-freezing temperatures for an extended time. This hardening of all-weather tires affects their gripping capacity, decreasing traction on rainy, snowy, slushy, or icy roadways.
Check your vehicle’s coolant system. The operation of your vehicle puts your engine under a lot of stress, especially the longer it runs, the more rugged the terrain, the faster your speed, and in varying temperatures. The highs and lows in your area can impact what makes for an ideal ratio of antifreeze to water for your vehicle. You’ll want to learn more about what’s the ideal balance of the two in light of forecasted weather if you want to minimize the chances of your engine freezing up and corroding.
Mind your gas tank. Your fuel line can freeze up thanks to condensation in below-freezing temperatures. Research shows that keeping your tank full significantly reduces the chances of fuel lines freezing, even though most of us have heard to only keep it half-full. A full tank is also more likely to keep you warm longer if you experience a mechanical failure or get stuck in inclement weather or traffic.
Check your tire pressure. Tires tend to deflate during cold weather months. This deflation can cause the wheel’s internal components to experience friction, leaving the tire more apt to blow out. Blowouts can cause motorists to suddenly lose control of their vehicles or become stranded in the middle of the road, both of which can increase their potential involvement in a crash.
Look under your hood. There are a few components that you’ll want to be in tip-top order going into the winter months. Your oil and transmission, brake, and windshield washing fluid can change in consistency amidst ever-changing weather conditions. Winter temperatures also tend to deteriorate your car’s wires, hoses, cables, belts, and even your battery, so you’ll want to have them checked.
If you opt to take your vehicle in for an inspection, you may also want to have your car’s brakes checked out. They can deteriorate in extreme weather conditions. So, if your mechanic told you that your brakes were on their last leg before, then it may be time to move forward with necessary repairs. You need all the help you can get when trying to stay safe on Marion, IL streets when winter weather strikes.
Winter Weather Driving Good Practices to Know
While you must know how to winterize your car to ensure your vehicle’s operational safety, there are some additional measures that you can take to safeguard your car’s longevity and to keep you safe. These strategies include:
Taking time to listen to or watch weather reports: This approach may let you know about impassible roadways, accidents causing backups, or upcoming inclement weather to prepare for.
Warming up your vehicle: The older your automobile is, the more important it is that you give its engine time to warm up before taking off. A warm engine and other climatized car components are more likely to function optimally than ones that are yet primed for the trip.
Clearing away any frost, snow, or ice: If you’ve left your vehicle outdoors overnight during winter months, there’s a strong chance that you’ll encounter it covered in an undrivable state by the following morning. Turn on your defrost to expedite the clearing of your windows as you brush or chip away at the snow and ice accumulated on them. Make sure to clear away any accumulation of snow or ice on your head, brake, and rear lights, blinkers, and license plate while you’re at it too.
Performing a pre-trip inspection on your car: Remember that visibility on foggy, snowy, or rainy days can be poor at night. Your lights may make all the difference as to whether another motorist sees you or not. Test out your turn signals, headlamps, and taillights to ensure that they all illuminate as they should.
While the approaches highlighted above are ideal to employ before taking off from your destination, there are two other tips that motorists can benefit from using when attempting to safely navigate the road during the winter months:
Carefully approaching bridges: These can be dangerous during winter months, no matter how on top of winterizing your vehicle that you may be. You’ve probably seen signs off the side that say, “Bridges ice before roads.” They’re there because bridges tend to run up to six degrees colder than an adjacent road, making them much more likely to become slippery with ice sooner.
Knowing what to do if your brakes cease up: Brakes tend to give out when subjected to added pressure. You’ll often hear advice that you should guide your vehicle in the direction you want to travel if an emergency like brake failure occurs. While this approach may be ideal, motorists often make the mistake of abruptly slamming on their brakes in such instances. While safety analysts describe stomping on the brake pedal and maintaining a firm application of your foot as ideal if your car has an anti-lock brake system (ABS), taking gradual corrective action is recommended when a car features a different braking system.
How To Proceed Following an Illinois Winter Weather Accident with Injuries
Many motorists take all the recommended steps to winterize their vehicles and drive as cautiously as humanly possible but still find themselves involved in crashes. The force with which crashes typically occur is amplified when roadways are wet from rain or covered in snow or ice.
Medical bills and other crash-related expenses or losses can quickly mount following a Marion, IL collision with injuries. Our attorneys here at Prince Law Firm can aid you in sorting out liability so that you can decide whether to move forward in filing a lawsuit in your car accident case.
What to Do If You Have Injuries from Slipping on Ice