Fall is here and Winter is around the corner. New Jersey is one of the states that experiences the weather of all four seasons. The differing weather, from one season to another, affects our daily lives (health, employment, vehicle condition, and even the heating and cooling costs for our homes). During periods of inclement Fall and Winter weather we should be cognizant of the demands made upon our vehicles, as well as of the precautions we should take to operate our vehicles in a safe manner.
Preparing Your Car for Fall and Winter
The following are a few tips to make sure your car is ready for the end of the year weather. In addition to these tips, it is recommended that you have your vehicles inspected by a mechanic, especially if you aren’t very “car savvy.
- Top off your antifreeze. Living in cold weather areas, we all know this.
- Put in new wiper blades. Old blades might not clear your windshield properly. New blades, properly installed, will help keep a greater degree of visibility.
- Top off your washer fluid. Keep an extra bottle of washer fluid in your car. This is actually a good idea year-round. During the winter months, you might want to use washer fluids which help deice windshields and do not freeze in the washer fluid lines when temperatures drop below freezing.
- Don’t forget to check your tires. Check both the condition of your tires and your cold tire pressure frequently, and keep your tires (including your spare tire) properly inflated; this will not only keep you safer, but can save money by virtue of increased gas mileage.
- Buy a good battery. If your battery is more than three years old or seems to struggle when you try to start your vehicle, have it tested by a technician to see if it is capable of properly holding its charge. If the battery is on its “last leg”, invest in a new one prior to the winter. The last thing you want to deal with on a cold day or night is a dead battery.
- Pack an emergency kit. Pack a first-aid kit, blankets, flashlights, flares, jumper cables,
bottled water, matches, plastic bags and any other items you think may be of help in a bad weather situation. Many automotive and department stores sell small battery pack/combination compressors, which also contain emergency lights and attached jumper cables. These emergency “power packs” will not only allow you to fill your tires, but can also jump start a dead battery with no assistance needed from another vehicle.
- Never underestimate how slippery roads are. Just because it’s not raining or snowing doesn’t mean roads are completely safe. Ice can form on roads anytime the temperature drops below a certain point, especially on windy or more humid days. Keep a safe speed and following distance, give space to yourself and other drivers; and remember that wet leaves can be as slick as ice.
- Slow down. Getting someplace fast is not nearly as important as getting somewhere safely.
Colder temperatures mean snow and ice, and even more road debris from trees. These hazards equate to more accidents, especially when drivers are unprepared for the late year weather and road conditions. While there’s sometimes no way to avoid an accident, the attorneys of Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari want you to be as well prepared as you can be.