Driving in the winter months are often a challenge in states like New Jersey that tend to see plenty of snow and ice. Not only do you have to worry about how your vehicle is going to fare in the cold weather, you also have to think about the road conditions. There are many things that can impact your safety during this time of year.
Getting ready for a drive begins long before you ever start your vehicle. By ensuring that it is ready for the road and that you've brushed up on some basic driving tips, you can help to improve your safety.
Check your vehicle for safety
Your vehicle must be in good working order to be able to handle the stresses of operating in the cold weather. Check the battery to make sure that it has enough amperage to start the car. It takes more power to the battery to get things going when the temperature drops. If you drive a hybrid-electric vehicle, you should keep gasoline in the tank just in case you need it this winter. Remember, the driving range dips when temperatures drop.
Check the antifreeze level and verify that it is a suitable strength for the expected temperatures. You can sometimes get away with using a less concentrated mixture during summer, but this isn't the case during the winter.
Look at the floor mats before you head out. If they are bunched up or not placed properly on the driver's side, they can cause problems with the pedals. This could prevent you from being able to stop when you need to and may lead to the accelerator getting stuck.
Fill the washer reservoir with a winter fluid that includes deicer so that you can clean the windows throughout the season. Make sure that you keep a container in your vehicle in case the reservoir runs low. Check the condition of the wipers. You may need heavy duty versions to combat the snow and ice.
Keep at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle. Additionally, make sure that your tires have tread that can grip properly if it is snowing. Bald tires should be replaced before you try to drive during the winter.
Review safe driving practices for winter weather
Take your time as you drive around. Trying to pick up speed or stop too quickly can lead to problems retaining control of the vehicle. Since snow and ice are slick, assume that every maneuver you do will take more time and effort. If you lose control of the vehicle, steer in the direction of the skid.
Never assume that another driver is going to have everything under control. It is a good idea to keep distance between you and other vehicles. This gives you a chance to address issues that you come across and it does the same for other drivers.
An even better idea is to remain home unless you absolutely have to get out. If you are struck by another vehicle in New Jersey, contact the authorities. Prepare to take legal action to recover damages caused by the crash.