Winter is here! Unfortunately, that means snowy and icy roads have to be navigated this time of year. Here are some reminders to help lower the possibility of having to file an auto insurance claim and ensure that you and your family get to where you’re going safely.
- USE CAUTION: The distance to stop on icy roads is 10 times farther than on dry roads. Decrease your speed and increase the space between you and the car ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to react in bad weather conditions.
- MAINTAIN TIRE PRESSURE: Contrary to what some people believe, you should not reduce your tire pressure in cold weather. But, when the weather first turns cold, the pressure in your tires may decrease all on its own. Be sure to keep the tires inflated at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.
- CHECK YOUR BATTERY: You don’t want your car to fail to start, especially in cold weather. To make sure your battery is functioning properly, take your car to an auto center for a battery checkup.
- USE LOW BEAM HEADLIGHTS AND/OR FOG LIGHTS: High beams reflect back in fog and snow and make seeing where you’re going more difficult. When driving in fog or heavy snow, use your low beam headlights or your fog lights.
- KEEP YOUR WINDSHIELD CLEAN: To keep your view clear, you need to have clean wiper blades. Clean them by running a wet rag down the wiper’s rubber. If that still doesn’t keep you from having streaks, replace the blades. Use windshield wiper fluid, not water – which can freeze and cause worse problems. Keep the inside of the windshield clean too.
- WATCH OUT FOR DEER: This time of year, there are a lot of deer running across roads and straight into traffic. In winter weather conditions (and with days getting dark earlier), it can be hard to see animals or have enough time to react when you do. Try installing a deer whistle. They’re inexpensive (under $20), easy to install, and emit a sound that people can’t hear but alert deer there is a car coming.
- CRITTER INVASION: Squirrels, raccoons, and other small animals may seek warmth from a cooling car engine in cold weather. They can cause major damage chewing on hoses and building nests, which can affect the operation of your car. If you have this problem, try hanging a net with mothballs under the hood of your car as a critter repellent.
- IF YOU SKID: What to do if you start to skid? Let off the gas and steer “into the skid,” meaning if your rear tires are sliding left, turn your steering wheel left. If they’re sliding right, steer to the right. Use gradual moves – don’t do anything sudden, and use the brakes gently.
- GET AN EMERGENCY KIT: If you have car trouble during bad weather, you want to make sure other people can see you and avoid hitting you. Be prepared if you are stranded in a remote setting where it may be a while for someone to get to you to help. Make sure you have flares, jumper cables, a flashlight, blanket, water, first aid supplies, etc. Put together your own emergency kit or look at one of the big-box stores for a preassembled one.
Stay safe this winter! Slow down, keep your vehicle maintained, and be prepared if you have a problem. Remember, if you do have an accident, Isch Insurance Services is here to help and get you back on the road as soon as possible.