Winter Vehicle Prep Checklist

winter vehicle prepAt The Advocates we can help if you have been injured in a car accident or auto-pedestrian crash, but we would all feel better if everyone stayed safe this winter. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one the best things you can do to avoid an accident is to make sure you have good winter vehicle prep before you even back out of your driveway.

Include Vehicle Systems in Your Winter Vehicle Prep

To avoid a crash, ensure all your vehicle’s systems are in order. The NHTSA recommends checking every system in your vehicle including the following.

  • Lights: Even if you plan on driving only during the day, you may need your headlights if snow begins to fall so that you can see other vehicles, and so that other drivers can see you.
  • Battery: Cold weather can drain your battery and make it difficult to start your vehicle. Always ensure that you have a working battery and good connections so that your vehicle will always start.
  • Windshield Wipers: Windshield wipers can work over time during the winter months removing copious amounts of precipitation from your vehicle. Keeping them in good working order is the difference between driving safely and driving blind.
  • Tires: Good tire tread is the difference between sliding away and climbing up an icy hill with any semblance of control. If you are unsure whether or not your tires are sufficient for the season, have them evaluated at a repair shop.

Keep Your Vehicle Stocked

  • Get your winter vehicle prep going with an ice scraper and snow shovel so that you can clear your vehicle from ice and snow.
  • Jumper cables and flashlight in case your battery dies in the cold.
  • Cold weather gear and blankets in case you are forced to leave your vehicle or you must turn off the heater to save fuel.
  • Cell phone and charger. You may have to call for help. Be prepared to reach out to emergency personnel. It is also a good idea to program non-emergency telephone numbers for your local first responders in case you get stuck in the snow, and need help getting out.
  • Water, food, and medicine. Be prepared if you are traveling in lightly-populated areas. You may get stuck in the snow and not be able to get supplies.
  • Gasoline: always keep your gas tank at least half full. You may think you have enough fuel to get to your destination, but traffic jams, and snow drifts can delay motorists for hours. You do not want to run out of gas and heat if you cannot move as quickly as you would like.

Check the Weather and Know Your Route

Before you leave on any trip, know what to expect. Is there a blizzard in the forecast or is it rain? Will there be heavy winds? Knowing as much as you can about the possible conditions on the road ahead can ensure you are prepared for any potential situation.

It is also a good idea to know your route in advance, and carry an analog map. You may not be able to rely on GPS and cell-phone navigation during a storm. You do not want to be lost without a plan.

It is also advisable to tell your family, co-workers, or roommates where you are going and when you plan to be back, if you slide off the road, and no one can find you, it would be helpful to have someone send help when you do not arrive at your destination as planned.

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