Plan Ahead: Winter Safety Tips for Your Car  | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Plan Ahead: Winter Safety Tips for Your Car 

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The winter season is just around the corner, and if you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking about how to prepare for it. With winter comes a lot of snow and cold weather, and this can be tough on your vehicle. The following blog post will give you tips for keeping you safe while driving during the long winter months ahead!

How to Drive Safely in Winter Weather

While you should be prepared for winter weather at all times, it’s always best to be extra careful when travel conditions are poor. During these times, it is absolutely critical that you drive safely. While we encourage you to stay home if the weather is poor, we know that sometimes you must still get to work.

If visibility is low, you want to slow down and turn your flashers on. Keep an eye out for road hazards like black ice or snow patches. If it’s snowing, you want to keep the following facts in mind:

  • Snowy conditions are extremely slippery and can shorten stopping distance by as much as seven times. You should be extra careful when traveling at higher speeds, which could lead to spinouts or crashes. Also, make sure that your tires are free of any compacted snow. If you go out and start spinning your tires, all of the snow could suddenly become packed into your wheel wells and make it even harder to get traction.
  • Some people try to accelerate their way through slippery conditions, but this is a big mistake! Accelerating can cause your vehicle to spinout, which puts you at greater risk for getting into an accident. If you must pull out into an intersection that has icy patches, drive straight across them and don’t turn! Turning will cause your tires to spin on the ice instead of biting into it for traction.
  • If you start feeling yourself skidding or losing control, get your foot off of the gas immediately! Slowing down using your brakes is always better than losing control of your vehicle. If you can, steer into the skid to regain traction and avoid a crash.
  • If you start to slide off the road, make sure that you use your emergency brake or fire up your hazard lights as soon as possible! You want other drivers on the road to be aware of any potential hazards.

Preventing Your Engine From Freezing During the Cold Weather

When temperatures drop during the winter, you run the risk of letting your car’s engine freeze over. Unfortunately, this puts you at risk for getting stranded in bad weather or even crashing! The best thing that you can do to prevent your engine from freezing is to keep it full of antifreeze. Although you should have this fluid changed out at least once annually, you should pay special attention to it during the winter.

Inspect your radiator on a regular basis and make sure that it isn’t covered in ice. If there’s a big buildup of icicles or lots of frost on your windshield, you should be able to tell that your antifreeze is getting low.

What to Do if You’ve Noticed Signs of Your Engine Freezing

If you’ve noticed signs of freezing in your engine, make sure that you get your car warmed up right away. When the weather is extremely cold, it can take anywhere from five to ten minutes of warming up before you’re ready to drive. If possible, keep your car running while you’re sitting in traffic or waiting for the bus so that it won’t freeze over.

If your engine does freeze over, make sure that you don’t try to accelerate immediately. If your car is accelerating slowly, turn your heater on full blast and make sure that the surrounding air is warm. Once the engine has had some time to thaw out, you can drive away safely!

Additional Winter Safety Tips

If you are going to be driving in winter weather, the AAA recommends these additional safety tips:

  • Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car, such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, medications, and more.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.
  • Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow.

Stay Safe this Winter with Scott’s Auto

At Scott’s Auto, we have multiple locations that are here for you year ’round. To make sure you car is prepared for the winter weather, stop by today for a tune-up!

 

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