In Mobile, AL, freezing temperatures are few and far between. However, the temperature has been known to drop when the sun goes down, and your vehicle is much more sensitive to these fluctuations than you might realize. In cold temperatures, do you know what to do to keep yourself safe when driving while also keeping your vehicle running properly? Read on for some winter driving tips that can help you avoid car accidents during frigid weather.
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Before You Go
Remember to allow for extra time for weather conditions and traffic. Get up earlier than you need to and check your vehicle. You may need to remove any frost that built up over the night. It’s important that you remove any and all frost either with a scraper or by letting your car defrost. Do NOT remove frost with your windshield wipers as this can damage them and make for a dangerous situation when you have to drive in the rain. Starting your car early and letting the engine heat up before turning the heat on can also conserve gas.
In Your Car
If you hit the road this winter and venture into a part of the country with colder temperatures, would you be prepared? Ask yourself this question: if you were to be stranded in your car in cold temperatures because of an accident or because your car broke down, would you have the right supplies to keep yourself warm, dry, and fed until help arrives?
Make sure you prepare a winter driving kit and place it in your car. Your kit should include:
- Basic car care items, such as extra windshield wiper fluid, jumper cables, and a tire jack.
- A first aid kit.
- A pocket knife.
- Spare warm clothing, and a blanket or sleeping bags.
- An ice scraper to remove frost buildup from your windshield.
- Non perishable snacks and bottled water.
- A flashlight and extra batteries.
- A bag of sand or kitty litter that can be placed beneath your tires on slick roads to provide traction.
Under the Hood
When the seasons change and colder weather makes an arrival, you should have your mechanic take a look at your car to ensure that everything is in proper order. Some facets of your vehicle that need careful attention in colder temperatures include:
- The oil and other fluids, including brake fluid and windshield wiper fluid. Cold and fluctuating temperatures can affect your oil. Winter blend oil tends to be thinner, which allows it to flow more freely.
- Check to see if your windshield wipers need to be replaced.
- Ensure that all lights are working properly, including headlights, brake lights, tail lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights.
- Make sure your battery is charging completely. Cold weather causes batteries to use more power, and making the battery work harder in the winter months can cause it to wear out more quickly.
- Ensure that your power steering and other systems are working properly.
- Check that your heat and defrost mechanisms are operational.
Now is the time to replace your tires if the tread is worn, as worn tires not only pose a risk of blowing while you are traveling down the road, but also reduce the traction you have on slick roads. It should be noted that fluctuating temperature and cold weather causes a reduction in tire pressure, which also poses driving hazards such as less grip on the road.
On the Road
Even in Alabama, winter storms can cause rain or ice on roadways. When driving in such conditions, you should remember to:
- Slow down. Posted speed limits aren’t set for inclement conditions, they’re set for dry roads. What this means is that you should only drive as fast as the conditions will allow.
- If the roads are slick, don’t brake and turn at the same time as this can cause your vehicle to skid. Instead, brake first, then complete your turn, then accelerate.
- Eliminate distractions. Careful driving on slick roads or in poor visibility requires your full attention.
- Remember that bridges and overpasses will ice over before other roadways do. If the weather is lingering near freezing or has dropped below, slow down when approaching bridges, overpasses, and even on exit-ramps.
Long & Long Attorneys at Law Can Help
Your preparation for winter driving can protect your property, your life, and the lives of your family members. What it can’t protect you from, however, is the lack of preparation or careless or reckless behavior from someone else. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a reckless driver, the experienced car accident attorneys at Long & Long Attorneys at Law can help you seek compensation for the expenses and impacts your injuries have caused. Contact us for a free case review. We will take care of you like you are a member of our own family.