Driving in cold weather is not always difficult, but when ice and snow get involved you could be facing serious difficulties if you’re unsure. While the actual mechanics of dealing with snow and ice in the road are impossible to teach through the written word, this article seeks to inform you as to what you should do to prevent an accident from becoming a seriously dangerous situation. If you live in Wisconsin, Michigan, or another state that’s likely to get a large amount of snow, preparation is everything.
First and foremost, make sure your tyres are in good shape. The legal minimum treads is not the safest, and if your tyres are looking tired there is no time like the present to get them replaced. Deeper tread gives greater traction and will help prevent skids and slides. As these can cause serious accidents to happen, it’s important to keep an eye on your tyres at all times, especially during the cold seasons.
Your anti-freeze to clean the windshield should be a 50-50 anti-freeze to water mixture, allowing your wipers to keep your windscreen clear of snow, ice, and debris. Don’t skimp on this; obviously you could end up in trouble if the ratio is off and causes it all to freeze solid.
A survival pack in the trunk of the car is a good idea. Pack up some high-calorie bars and be sure to have some water handy. Even if the water freezes in the trunk you’ll be able to thaw it by keeping it in the car with you for a while before drinking it. Keeping hand warmers (the kind you snap and then insert into mittens) in the survival pack as well is a good idea, as it will help you warm cold extremities and thaw your water quicker.
Cell phones are amazing in terms of keeping in touch. However, if the battery runs out you may find it just about as useful as a rock. Buy a charger that runs on batteries, and keep it – along with the batteries, but separate from them – in your survival pack. Should you find yourself in an emergency but without charge, you’ll be able to get your battery charged and phone for a tow truck or any other emergency service you may need. If you have a pay-as-you-go phone, make sure there is always some spare credit, too.
A jack is a useful thing to carry along, as is a spare tyre that will make the grade. These will be invaluable in situations such as flat tyres where you need to move as fast as you can to avoid getting too cold. But did you know that a simple spade and some cat litter could help you out of a bind, too? The spade is imperative for situations where you need to dig yourself out of a snowbank, whereas the kitty litter, spread on the snow by your tyres, can provide you with the traction you need to drive away.
By preparing adequately for emergency situations, you can head off the cold weather at the pass and prevent a simple situation from becoming a tragedy or, at best, a deeply unpleasant part of your day.