More than 70% of the United States experiences a full-blown winter. Snow, sleet, ice, and freezing rain are a way of life in these areas for at least several months out of the year. The holidays may be a time of increased road travel for getting together and celebrating, but that doesn’t stop the snow from falling or the ice from forming on the highway.
As the cold weather dominates a large portion of the United States, hibernation is simply not an option. There are still children to shuttle to and from school and daycare, still groceries to buy and work to attend.
As the snow flies and builds, and roads become more difficult to traverse, it’s a good idea to take some steps toward familiarizing yourself with winter driving and preparation strategies. Check the car battery. If your battery is running low on juice, you might never suspect it in warmer weather.
However, once the temperatures dip, a bad battery will either be sluggish or refuse to work at all. Take the car to your mechanic for a voltage test or perform the load battery test by turning off the car, turning on the headlights, waiting 15 minutes, turning the car back on, and seeing if there is any fluctuation in the intensity of the lights. If there is, get the battery tested, it might be on its way out.
Call ahead of time
Because of the pandemic, and because of the growing shortage of workers, it’s likely that the stores where you shop have adjusted their hours. Before heading out, call the store or check online to see if they are open and what time they close. If it’s one item you’re seeking, consider asking if they have it in stock, and to put it aside so you won’t make a wasted trip in bad weather.
Review your insurance coverage
Are you familiar with your auto insurance policy and the specifics about what it covers? Have you compared rates or explored new insurance providers? Talk to your provider about how you can improve your coverage and save money, and research auto insurance quotes online to find the best deal.
Reschedule festivities if the weather doesn’t cooperate
Although Thanksgiving and Christmas Day fall on specific dates, if the forecast calls for doom and gloom, and bad weather is calling the shots, don’t hesitate to reschedule your festivities for another day. Meeting together over Zoom or FaceTime in the interim could save someone a lot of winter headaches, and possibly bad consequences resulting from being on treacherous roads.
Consider installing snow tires
If you live in a climate that receives consistent heavy snow or has rough terrain, you’ll need some help driving on slippery, snowy roads. Snow tires will have the tread to help you gain traction and will give you the peace of mind you need to get from point A to point B seamlessly.
Fix your car’s heater
Over the spring, summer, and fall, it’s easy to get away with not having a heater in your car. Sure, some mornings might be a little chilly, but by midday, the car is easily warmed by the sun. This won’t be the case in the wintertime.
It’s one thing to trek from store to store in a small town with no heat in the car to warm you, but what about on longer trips? And if you experience a breakdown with an extended wait time? Get the car’s heater fixed so you can tackle winter head-on.
Regularly clean your car
Cleaning your car will remove dirt, grime, and salt from the vehicle, where it can work its way into the paint, and start a spot of rust. That spot can turn into a section by spring, and it’s completely preventable. Be sure to regularly clean your windows, lights, and car camera lenses, as well, to optimize visibility during a season when nights are longer and visibility is usually the lowest.
Keep necessities in the car
Even if you aren’t planning a long road trip, you never know when you might need a shovel, ice scraper, flashlight, extra blankets, or snacks while you wait for help to arrive, in case an accident does happen.
Life doesn’t stop just because winter has arrived. During the holidays, it gets sped up, with holiday shopping, family and friend get-togethers, volunteering, school recitals and plays, and town festivals. Be prepared to be on the go by getting your car ready for the colder temperatures, and yourself ready for the holiday madness!