If you have just moved to an area that experiences harsh, freezing, and snowy winters, chances are you are not going to be prepared for the dangers that it can face. Being cold is only your secondary concern. Being safe on the roads is another story entirely. Between whiteout conditions and the ever-dangerous prospect of black ice, winters in northern regions can be perilous.
That is why you need to kit out your vehicle properly. This means more than just making sure you have enough gas to get you to where you are going. You need to be prepared for multiple worst-case scenarios. Surviving a crash or break down is one thing, surviving a crash or breakdown in hypothermic conditions is another. Don’t put yours or your family’s health in danger, and instead get your vehicle prepped this summer or fall before the temperatures drop.
Prep Your Vehicle for Winter
Before winter even begins, there are a few things that you are going to want to prep.
Ensure Your Heating System is Working Before the Weather Starts to Cool
Heating is not something we bother with when the weather is still good. That’s why all too often issues can arise just when you start to need them the most. Always check your heating in advance to ensure that it is all still working without a problem.
Get Your Vehicle Serviced
Of course, one of the best ways to ensure that everything is going to work perfectly is to get your vehicle fully serviced by a garage that you trust. You don’t want people who will cut corners to save a buck, you want them to test everything to make sure that your car will be working when you need to use it during harsh winter conditions. If an issue arises during winter, don’t wait to get it fixed. Go and book an appointment to handle the problem as soon as possible.
Know the Best Place to Switch Out Your Tires
Winter tires are not just cosmetic, they are a life necessity. The wider grips are ideal for giving you traction on icy conditions. In a way, having summer tires and winter tires (or splurging on year-round tires) can help you prolong the life of your wheels and your vehicle. You simply need to find a great tire shop that offers the best prices on new and certified used tires. Shopping for winter tires early on might even fetch you a discount.
Items to Stock Up In Your Vehicle
Your vehicle in the winter should have a few key items and provisions stocked up inside it. Don’t leave without them!
- Matches and Kindling
- A First Aid Kit
- Non-perishable snacks and water
- Charged Flashlight
- Emergency Flares
- Rope or chain that can be attached to your car
- Jumper cables
- Cell phone charger
- Thermal blankets or sleeping bags
- Anti-Freeze or Windshield washer fluid
- Road salt, sand, or kitty litter
- Ice scraper
- Gloves, Hats, and other Winter Clothing
Consider packing a suitcase that you will always keep in the back that has all the necessities that you need. Having extra socks, pants, and other items of clothes can also be a good idea if you intend to go walking through the snow, as the biggest danger is if the snow melts through your clothes. Being wet in winter is deadly, and having a dry change of clothes can be lifesaving, especially if you are stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Tips for Driving in Harsh Winters
To help you further survive harsh winters where you intend to be driving on country or back roads a lot, especially, follow these tips:
1. Learn Basic Maintenance
Though learning how to completely fix a car from scratch is not necessary, simple fixes like how to change a tire can help you save a lot of money and can help save you if you break down in the middle of nowhere any time of the year.
2. Always Inform Others of Your Route and ETA
Last but not least, just let others know where you are going and which route you are taking. This, along with your estimated time of arrival, can give your friends and family a heads up. If you are taking too long, they can then send out a police patrol to check in on you. If you have driven off the road and were unconscious following the crash, this is the best way to save your life.