BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
Driving in cold weather presents challenges, whether it is snow, rain, heavy fog, or temperatures near or below freezing.
Cold weather can negatively affect your car’s performance and put your safety in danger. Preparing for your drive is one of the most important components of keeping you and your passengers safe. To follow is a list of winter driving tips.
Pay attention to the weather forecast and prepare accordingly. Routinely check gas, oil, and antifreeze, brake, and wiper fluid levels. Also check operating lights, tire air pressure, and the vehicle’s battery charge.
It is good practice during winter weather to keep your gas tank topped off. You could be stranded in dangerously cold temperatures after sliding off a slick road. Intermittently running your car and turning on the heat will keep you warm until help arrives.
Keep certain items in your car. Make sure you have a spare tire filled with air, blankets, gloves, drinking water, first aid kit, a brush to wipe away frost, signs or lighting to indicate “Emergency Help Needed” and a car escape tool.
You may also want to invest in a portable battery jumper or cables. Cold weather can drain your car’s battery. If the battery charge gets too low, you could find yourself stranded. Having a portable jumper could help you get back on the road.
For early morning commuters, wake up early and take several steps: remove any frost and start your car to let it warm for a few minutes. By waking up early, you have time to prepare your car for a drive and you can leave earlier than normal and avoid the need to rush. Rushing often leads to aggressive driving, which causes accidents, especially on weather compromised roads.
When driving on the road at any time during the year, it is important that you remain focused on the road. Snow, rain, or fog can impair driving visibility, affecting your response time. They along with icy conditions can make for slick roads and affect your car’s maneuvering ability.
Not everyone on the road will drive as safely as they should. By staying focused, you can give yourself the best chance of avoiding an accident with a negligent or reckless driver.