6 Tips to Survive Winter with Your Car

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Updated October 7th, 2016

During any given winter, you will unfortunately hear stories of driving mishaps and multiple-car pileups due to hazardous road conditions. As snow and ice begin to accumulate, they can create very slick roads that are difficult to navigate, even by the most skillful of drivers. While you can't control the weather, you can do your best to be prepared for any harsh winter conditions that may lie ahead by taking heed to these tips for surviving the winter driving season.

 

Drive slower

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many people still try to go the same speed on a snowy or icy road as they would on a road that is completely dry. It doesn't matter how great your tires are; they simply can't grip the road as well when there's a layer of frozen precipitation on the surface of the asphalt. Don't perform any sudden accelerations, braking or steering motions, and if you start to skid, just steer in the direction that you want to go and apply light, steady pressure on the gas. Whatever you do, don't over-compensate for the skid by jerking the wheel the other way and braking hard--this will only make matters worse. Beyond going slow, the best advice would be to not leave the house unless you absolutely have to; it's just not worth it to risk your safety out on those crazy, slippery roads.

Check your battery's health

The last thing you would want on a frozen morning is to discover that your battery is stone cold dead. Make sure to get your battery tested at your local auto repair or auto parts store (most of them provide this service for free) to ensure that you've got plenty of battery life left. If you have a relatively new battery but it's running down, we recommend having your alternator and/or charging and electrical systems inspected for any issues.

Respect the laws of physics

When driving on slick roads, keep a good amount of distance between your car and the car in front of you. The last thing you need to do is tailgate someone on an icy or snowy road. If the driver in front of you were to suddenly slam on brakes, you might not be able to stop in time due to the slippery conditions. When roads are snowy or icy, braking simply doesn't work as well as it does in dry conditions. Stay alert and nimble, and respect the laws of physics enough to keep a good distance between you and the car ahead of you.

Check the condition of your tires

You might not need snow tires, but your tires should at least be in decent shape, which means having adequate traction for the winter season. All-season tires are usually adequate for most non-extreme wintry conditions.

Prepare for contingencies

In wintry weather, things may not always go as planned, so be sure to keep a decent amount of emergency supplies on-hand including blankets, snacks, bottled water, winter clothes, a flashlight, and a folding shovel. That way, you'll be prepared for whatever might come.

Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto provides automotive safety and auto repair information for the sole purpose of educating the community at large. “We believe an educated customer is a loyal customer.” Hogan and Sons Tire and Auto in Winchester, Virginia. 8 locations throughout the Northern Virginia to choose from. http://www.hoganandsonsinc.com

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