When South Carolina’s chilly winter weather sets in you have to prepare yourself and your vehicle before taking a winter drive, especially if you’re traveling northward. Colder temperatures impact how your vehicle operates, so you need to plan ahead, keep the proper supplies in your car, and maintain your vehicle to ensure your drive is a safe one.
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Before You Go
A good way to remain safe on a winter drive in Columbia, SC, or on the road to more northern parts of the state or country, is preparing before you leave home. The following preparation tips can help keep you safe:
- Allow extra time. Whether you need to set your alarm to get up earlier or you are going out later in the day, you should allow the time you need to prepare your vehicle before you leave.
- Clean off your vehicle. Scrape any frost from your windows and windshield, or wait for your foggy windshield to clear. You want to have close to perfect visibility when driving in the winter, so you can avoid a collision.
- Warm up your vehicle. Your car runs best when the fluids heat up a little. Avoid mechanical failure on winter roads by letting your car warm up for a few minutes before you head out. This will also help you save on gas, as blasting the heat as soon as you turn the engine over can eat through your fuel supply.
In Your Car
During the winter months, keep a box or crate in your vehicle with some survival items in case of an emergency. Example items include:
- Gloves. Cold steering wheels make it difficult to control a vehicle, so gloves can help
- Ice scraper. You might need to scrape frost from your car after work or after being gone all day.
- Hammer. A severe accident can leave you trapped in your car. You can break a window or your windshield with a hammer to get out of a stuck or overturned vehicle if you are physically able.
Under the Hood
Preventative maintenance is key to keeping you safe on the road during the winter. Even if conditions aren’t icy or snowy, cold and fluctuating temperatures can affect your vehicle and your safety. You can ensure you are prepared for winter drives under the hood by:
- Making sure your car battery is charged
- Keeping your gas tank more than half full
- Keeping your antifreeze topped off
- Putting the right oil in your vehicle for the season and changing as necessary
Fluctuating temperatures can affect your car battery, gas efficiency, oil, and more. It’s important to make sure these elements are checked and good to go before venturing out.
On the Road
Focus on driving safely when you are on the road so you avoid car accidents on a winter weather drive. You should:
- Give yourself space and time to apply your brakes in slick conditions so you don’t slide into an intersection or into the car in front of you.
- Use the least amount of heat possible to conserve gas in case you get stuck in traffic or in the ditch.
- Rotate your tires and change out worn tires to make sure you have the proper traction on winter roads.
It’s also important to note that fluctuating temperatures can affect your tire pressure, making for a dangerous drive if not addressed. Make sure you check your tire pressure before each trip.
Harris & Graves Is Here to Help
If you or someone you love has sustained injuries in a winter driving accident caused by a careless driver, Harris & Graves is here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review to learn about your legal options and what your case may be worth.