The New Year is here, and with it the snow, ice, and difficult driving conditions which we’ve all experienced before. Preparing for potential emergencies is a must when driving during storms, and consequently, we’ve put together a little list of items to help you as you go out on the road this winter season.

Preparing for the cold can keep you warm in an emergency

Preparing for the cold can keep you warm in an emergency

The thing about emergencies is that nobody knows when they’ll occur, what will happen, or how they’ll be involved.  The following tips will help keep you safe while driving during the winter months, and more prepared in case you’re involved in an accident.

  • Know your limitations –   This point is aimed at those of us with all-wheel drive or traction control systems.  These vehicles are wonderful for helping us get around in the snow, but they do nothing to help us stop.  Most of us overestimate our ability to control the two tons of metal surrounding us as we drive, and it’s no surprise that many of the vehicles we see in our shop during the winter are all-wheel drive vehicles.  Patience with other drivers, slower driving, and careful attention to your surroundings are the key to keeping your winter accident-free.
  • Fill the tank – Keeping your fuel tank filled gives you three advantages during the winter.  The obvious advantage is that you’re never in danger of running dry, but there are two other advantages to keeping more gas in the tank.  First, the extra weight will help give you traction in the snow, and keeping the tank full helps to avoid gas-line freezing.  Moisture in the line can build up in the fuel line, and if there’s no fuel, that moisture can freeze, rendering you immobile.  Keep the tank at least half full to avoid this problem.
  • Check your windshield wipers – Visibility in the winter can be difficult, and even more so with a dirty windshield.  Make sure your wipers are in good shape and you have an adequate supply of washer fluid.  It costs a few dollars per gallon and can mean the difference between an easy drive home and sticking your head out the driver’s side window trying to see where you’re going next.
  • Check your battery –   Just like Raid kills bugs dead, cold kills batteries dead.  Get your battery checked before it dies on you.  If you notice that your car is sluggish in the morning, that’s probably a sign that you’re ready for a new battery.
  • Emergency Kit – This may sound overboard, but a box in the trunk of your car with all this stuff in it won’t hurt you, and if you do get into an accident or get stuck, you’ll be thankful to have it.  As the saying goes, “better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it .”  This is our list of items we think you should have in your trunk at all times.
  1. Extra Cash:  A few dollars in change, and $10.00-20.00 in cash can come in really handy, and it doesn’t spoil.
  2. Flashlight: One of the hand-crank ones or a good one with fresh batteries is a must.
  3. Phone Battery Charger: A simple item to keep in the glove compartment.  If the battery in the car goes, you’ll still be able to keep the phone going.
  4. Thermal Blanket:  Lightweight and small, they keep your body heat close to you, reflecting it back into the area it covers.  If you’re stuck for any length of time, this is invaluable.  They cost between $5.00 and $10.00.
  5. Hand Warmers:  A ten-pack of chemical hand-warmers can be purchased at most department stores and pharmacies.
  6. Tire Filler: In a pinch, this can keep you moving.
  7. Extra Clothing: A few pairs of gloves, a hat, and a heavy flannel or wool shirt will do the trick.
  8. Jumper Cables:  Obviously
  9. Small Shovel and Bag of Sand: Cheap clay cat litter will work as well.  This can provide traction for your tires should you get stuck.
  10. Our Phone Number: 5 Points Automotive: (215)855-3592. If you’re in an accident, or stuck on the road, help is a phone call away!

Hopefully, every year, you’ll charge the batteries, make sure the hand warmers haven’t expired, and wash the clothing and never have to use all these items, but in the event you need them, you’ll be thankful you have them.