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Get your car ready!

Prepare your car for winter. Start with a checkup that includes:

  • Checking the brakes, hoses and accessory belts.
  • Checking the air, fuel and emission filters.
  • Inspecting the battery.
  • Inspecting the tires for air, wear and tread depth.
  • Checking antifreeze levels.
  • If your car has summer high-performance tires, arrange to have your winter tires mounted.

Should your car need a tune-up (check the owner's manual for the recommended interval) this would be a good time to consider doing it.

Necessary Equipment
An emergency situation on the road can arise at any time and you must be prepared. In addition to making sure you have the tune-up, a full tank of gas, and fresh anti-freeze, you should carry the following items in your trunk:

  • Properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and jack
  • Shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Winter tires or chains for an emergency.
  • A bag of play sand or kitty litter
  • Some basic hand tools
  • Working flashlight and some extra batteries.
  • Exterior windshield cleaner
  • Ice scraper and a snow brush
  • Scissors and string/cord Non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy.
  • Emergency flares or triangles.

Driving safely on icy roads.......

1.      Reduce your speed and leave plenty of room between other traffic to stop safely. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.

2.      Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake. Most modern cars have anti-lock brakes.  If that’s the case, just look and drive in the direction you wish to go in the event of an emergency.

3.      Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.

4.      Keep your windshield and lights clean and free of ice and snow.

5.      Remove ice and snow from the roof of your vehicle. (A law in some states)

6.      Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

7.      Don't use cruise control on icy roads.

8.      Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and secondary roads, which will freeze first. Even with temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter “black ice” in shadowed areas or on exposed roadways like bridges

9.      Don't pass plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.

10.  Don't assume your car or SUV can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel vehicles!

If your rear wheels skid...

1.      Take your foot off the accelerator.

2.      Steer and LOOK in the direction you want the car to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer and LOOK left. If they're sliding right, then steer and LOOK right.

3.      If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle under control.

4.      If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.

5.      If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal, and drive in the direction you want to go.

If your front wheels skid...

1.      Take your foot off the accelerator, but don't try to steer immediately.

2.      As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go.

If you get stuck...

1.      Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.

2.      Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.

3.      Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.

4.      Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.

5.      Pour sand, cat litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels to help get traction.

6.      Try rocking the vehicle. Shifting from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.  (Check your owner's manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.)

Posted 2:52 PM

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