Winter Driving: Before You Hit the Road

Winter weather in Connecticut can mean hazardous driving conditions. Prepping your car for winter driving can go a long ways towards keeping you out of danger’s way when road conditions are wet and slippery.

Preparing Your Car For Winter Driving

Clear the snow and ice from your vehicle

Make sure to clear snow and ice from your windows and all sensors and lights, including your backup camera. You’ll also want to remove any snow that has accumulated on the top of your car. Flying snow and ice can create hazardous driving conditions, and additionally, not clearing that snow and ice from your car is against the law as well. Connecticut’s Ice Missile law allows police officers to fine drivers who don’t clear the snow and ice from their cars before driving. If those flying chunks of snow and ice cause an accident or injury, the fines will be even higher. Check out this video for a firsthand account of why you should take the time to clear your vehicle.

Make sure your lights are in good working order

Make sure your headlights, brake lights, turn signals and hazard lights work properly. Keep your headlights on when driving in bad weather, even during the day. Not only does it help you see better, it will help other drivers see you as well.

Check your windshield wipers, your defrosters – and your windshield wiper fluid

Visibility is critical in bad weather. If your windshield wiper blades are worn, replace them before the first storm. In addition, make sure your front and rear defrosters are working as well. Anything that obstructs your view could create a potentially hazardous situation.

In a storm, you may also find yourself going through more windshield wiper fluid than you normally do. Dirty slush can make a mess of your windows! Don’t forget to use wiper fluid with a de-icer…keep extra on hand in your vehicle if possible.

Make sure your tires are ready for winter

In snowy areas, consider changing out your tires to winter tires once the cold weather hits. Often referred to as snow tires, winter tires perform better in winter weather conditions such as snow, ice, slush and low temperatures.  With special rubber compounds and tread designs, they’re able to stay more pliable in the cold to better grip the road.

When was the last time you added air to your tires? If you haven’t checked your tire inflation pressure since summer, it’s probably time to make adjustments. Maybe you’ve seen a strange warning light come on in your car. Tire inflation pressure drops when the temperature drops, and that affects your steering and handling of the car, as well as gas mileage and life of your tires. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended tire inflation pressure for your car.

Add a winter driving survival kit to your car

Are you prepared if your car breaks down? Should you find yourself stranded, you want to make sure you’re prepared.

A good winter driving survival kit should contain a warm blanket (or two), first aid kit, flashlight, water and non perishable snacks, ice scraper and brush, salt and sand (or kitty litter), jumper cables, reflective triangles and road flares. You should also have a cell phone and cell phone charger, and extra clothes, socks and boots, in case your clothing gets wet.

For more suggestions, check out this infographic from Travelers Insurance.

Additionally, if you know you’ll be travelling in a remote area, make sure you tell someone where you’re going and what route you’ll be taking.

The best thing you can do if you are stranded is stay in your car, put on your hazard lights, call for help, and wait for it to arrive.

We know that winter driving can be dangerous, so we’ve also put together a list of safety tips for driving in the snow for you!

And of course, if you are in a car accident, call us as soon as possible. Nicholas / Tobin Insurance is committed to helping you through your car insurance claim process as smoothly as possible!

Nicholas / Tobin Insurance, located in New Milford, Connecticut, provides its clients the highest quality insurance products and services available today to protect them, their families, and businesses. We offer homeowners insurance, renter’s insurance, car insurance, business insurance, travel insurance and more! Our commitment to service means our team of licensed insurance professionals is here to help with simple policy questions, consult with you to determine appropriate coverages and be available 24/7 when trouble strikes, and you need assistance managing through the claim process.

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