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Winter driving survival tips

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ON-STREET PARKING

Now that winter is upon us, please be aware of salting and snow plow trucks.  Be mindful of on-street parking:  If you park in the same spot every night, it will not be plowed as often if you found an alternative parking spot.  Also, many streets are narrow and plows will have difficulty plowing if there are cars on both sides of the street.  In some instances, plows will not be able to go through.

PREVENT DE-ICING

If possible, park your car facing east, so the morning sun will help defrost your windshield. It will save you a few extra, bone-chilling minutes otherwise spent scraping.  If that doesn’t work, get a spray bottle and mix 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water. Spray it onto the windshield to prevent the ice from forming.  You could also get a piece of cardboard, cut to the size of your windshield, and put it on overnight. It will prevent the glass from icing over.

KEEP THE WIPERS CLEAR OF AN ICY WINDSHIELD

Lift the windshield wipers overnight. That way they won’t freeze to the windshield along with all of the ice.

EXAMINE THE
CONDITIONS

If you park in a wet area in the middle of the day, be aware that the water could easily freeze again by the time you return to your car hours later. Try to find a parking spot that is nice and dry; if the only option is to park in a puddle, sprinkle some salt around your car to ensure that you’ll be able to get back in and drive away safely.

PREVENT FROST BUILD-UP AND WINDOWS FROM FOGGING

Fill a stocking full of clean kitty litter and place it our your dash to absorb humidity or run the air conditioner to take the humidity out of the air.

KEEP SNOW REMOVAL ITEMS IN THE CAR

You never know when your car might get snowed in. Keep a scraper, a snow brush, and a shovel in the car.   And always keep an extra set of mittens, hat, scarf, socks and a blanket in the car for emergencies.

KEEP YOUR BATTERY AND CHARGING SYSTEM IN TOP SHAPE

Cold weather can reduce a battery capacity by more than one-third, so be sure you have the battery, alternator and charging system in tiptop shape.

MAINTAIN YOUR WINDSHIELD WASHER SYSTEM

Keep the fluids filled and new wipers on the blades, as you’ll undoubtedly be using them often to keep the snow, slush and salt off the window.

DRIVE AND BRAKE SLOWLY

Avoid rapid acceleration and deceleration.  Slow and steady wins the race. Accelerate slowly to gain traction on snowy roads, and a slow deceleration will avoid sliding. It takes longer to brake and speed up on snowy roads, so budget your time accordingly.

GET A FEEL FOR YOUR BRAKES

As you’re driving in the wintery conditions, apply the brakes once or twice when you’re alone on the road so you can test the braking conditions. You’ll get a good feel for how fast you can truly travel.

AVOID THE SPIN

Whether you’re moving from a dead stop, or driving up a hill, don’t spin your wheels and slam on the gas pedal. You’ll get nowhere fast.

WALKERS TAKE NOTE

When walking make eye contact with an approaching driver. Stop if you don’t think the driver has seen you.  Wear boots or shoes with nonslip soles and good ankle support. If necessary, carry your work shoes with you and change inside.  Snow muffles engine sounds; don’t rely solely on hearing to know if a vehicle is coming. Electric and hybrid vehicles are especially quiet.

 

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