Safety Tips for Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter Driving - Catalano Law

Safety Tips for Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter Driving

Winter weather conditions can make the roads hazardous. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that of all weather-related car accidents, 24% occurred in snowy or icy conditions. Since New York State sees consistently snowy winters, maintaining your car for the season is necessary to reduce the risk of car accidents.

While many New Yorkers are familiar with driving in the snow, preparing your car for winter weather is just as important as knowing how to drive in it. Learn how to prepare your vehicle for winter driving and how Catalano Law can help if the outside conditions cause a car accident.

  1. Maintain Your Tires

Your tires are one of the first lines of defense against snowy and icy streets. Poorly maintained tires have less traction on the road, and a flat tire or skid on a slippery street can cause an accident. Performing basic maintenance on your tires will reduce the risk of a car accident.

  1. Switch to Snow Tires

Upstate New York is home to some of the snowiest cities in the U.S. Syracuse alone averages about 127.3” of snow each year. Standard tires have a poorer grip on snowy or icy roads, putting you at risk of losing control of the car during winter. Switch your tires for snow tires, which get better traction on the road.

  1. Change to Winter Oil

Engine oil keeps the moving parts of your car’s engine running smoothly, but the oil thickens once the temperatures drop. Thick oil has a higher viscosity and moves slowly through your engine parts, and poor lubrication can damage your engine. Before the winter chill sets in, switch to winter-grade engine oil that doesn’t thicken in the cold.

  1. Use Winter Windshield Wiper Fluid

Standard windshield wiper fluid can freeze in low temperatures. If used on your windshield, it can freeze, impairing visibility and potentially leading to a dangerous crash. Switch to a winter windshield wiper fluid with a lower freezing point.

  1. Check Your Antifreeze

Your antifreeze or coolant regulates the internal temperature of your car’s engine and keeps the inner workings from overheating or freezing. If not replaced, the coolant will become acidic and cause your engine to rust. This can cause your engine to overheat, sustain damage, and potentially lead to a car fire.

The typical recommendation is to flush your antifreeze every 30,000 miles or every two years, whichever comes first. Some coolants are designed to last longer, only needing replacement every five or ten years. Check the owner’s manual for your car to see when the antifreeze needs replacement, and get it flushed before the winter if needed.

  1. Test Your Battery

Car batteries naturally wear down over time. However, they’re adversely affected by cold weather: the cold weather slows down the chemical reaction required to produce energy, so the battery holds less charge. Have a mechanic test your battery to see how much charge it holds and whether it needs replacing before the winter.

Additionally, make sure to perform routine maintenance on your car battery. This includes:

You may also want to consider getting a battery blanket. A battery blanket insulates your car’s battery and offers some protection from low temperatures.

  1. Prepare a Safety Kit

Winter driving means cold weather, reduced visibility, and slippery roads. An unprepared driver can quickly find themselves in a dangerous situation if a car accident or mechanical failure leaves them stranded. Store a safety kit in your car with supplies for car repair and the vehicle’s occupants.

Safety kits can be purchased online or assembled on your own. All winter safety kits should have the following:

Add items to your safety kit depending on your needs. For example, if you have a pet, keep pet supplies in your kit as well.

Call Catalano Law After a Winter Weather Car Crash

Even an experienced driver can fall victim to a winter weather accident. Dangerous road conditions and unprepared or negligent drivers can hit your car and leave you or a loved one seriously injured. If the sight of your medical expenses gives you chills, Catalano Law can help.

Our car accident attorneys have many years of experience obtaining damages from negligent drivers, even in the no-fault state of New York. We will review your case and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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