If you live in an area where snow and ice are the norm this time of year, it’s important to drive extra cautiously. In part one of this series, we’ll discuss how to prepare your car for winter driving conditions before you hit the road.

Have Your Car Serviced

The best way to prevent getting stranded in a snowstorm is to make sure your car is up for the task before you hit the road. This means taking your vehicle to a mechanic for an oil change and multi-point inspection for a chance to find and fix leaks, replace worn hoses, and make other repairs.

Look up Recalls

Automakers announce recalls all the time. Search for your vehicle make and model on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall lookup tool to find out if there are any open recalls. If so, you will want to make sure to address these and can have the problem fixed for free by a local mechanic.

Check Your Car’s Systems

In between formal service visits, keep an eye on your vehicle’s most essential systems.

  • Check the battery for corrosion. If your car has a hard time starting in cold weather, take it in for a battery test.
  • Make sure all your exterior lights are working.
  • Top off the windshield washer reservoir before driving in snowy conditions.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half-full at all times throughout the winter.
  • Check your tire pressure and inspect the tread for wear once a month.

Stock Your Car

Hopefully, all your preparations will prevent you from being stranded, but it’s best to be ready nonetheless. Stock an emergency car kit with the following:

  • Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper
  • Sand or kitty litter to help get your car unstuck
  • Jumper cables and tow ropes
  • Flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries
  • Blankets or heavy coats
  • Food and water
  • Cell phone and charger
  • First aid kit and medications
  • Emergency tire repair kit

Plan Your Travel Route

Check the traffic and road conditions before you venture out. A map application on your cell phone should advise the best route to help you avoid accidents and road closures.

Clear Snow and Ice off Your Vehicle

Give yourself time to scrape your car before hitting the road. Remove all snow and ice from the windshield, windows, headlights, taillights, and the roof of the vehicle. If the ice is thick and difficult to break through, use a , made of rubbing alcohol, water and hand soap.

Buckle Everyone In

Wear your seatbelt for every trip, every time. Ensure that all passengers are buckled up as well. Children under age 13 must sit in the backseat, and age- and size-appropriate car seats are required for all little ones.

If the roads are treacherous because of a storm, your home could sustain damage as well. Contact DKI Services today at 877-533-0210 to request storm damage clean-up or other restoration services. Then, revisit our blog for part two of this series: Tips for the Road.