Winter brings many things. Christmas, puffy coats, hot cocoa and of course, snow. Lots of snow. Snow can be great for cuddling up on the couch with a blanket, some hot cocoa and a movie. Snow can also be really pretty and definitely gets you in the Christmas spirit. For all of these reasons, snow is great, but what happens when you actually have to venture out and drive in the stuff? We want to share some tips with you this winter season to help you better prepare to drive in the Cleveland winter weather, whether you're checking out the best Christmas lights in Cleveland or simply commuting to work.
The best thing, of course, would be to avoid the roads completely when the snow hits or when they get slippery. Wouldn’t it be great if we could call off of work every time we see any of the white stuff on the ground? Unfortunately for a majority of people, this is not an option.
Navigating in the snow can be tricky, so if you do need to be driving somewhere, we’ve put together our top 10 tips for driving in the snow. Of course it goes without saying, you should make sure you have updated your auto insurance by speaking with one of our insurance experts before hitting the Cleveland roads this winter season!
Never warm your vehicle up in an area that is enclosed.
The last thing you want is carbon monoxide poisoning. If you start your car in an area that is enclosed, such as your garage, the fumes can’t escape. Another very important thing to keep in mind is that you MUST clear the snow from your exhaust pipe if you are, say, stuck in a ditch and are running your car to keep it heated. The fumes could seep into the car.
Don’t use cruise control on snow and ice.
These slippery surfaces are not something you want to be using cruise control on. Much like when you are using cruise control to go up a hill, your car may try to accelerate, causing your vehicle to slide around. Increase your follow distance.
They usually say to give yourself a distance of about three to four seconds between yourself and the car in front of you, but in the winter time and especially when it is icy out, it is very important to keep a further distance away. It is a lot harder and takes a lot longer to stop a car on ice.
Keep your gas tank above half full so it doesn’t freeze up.
A small amount of gas freezes faster than a large amount. Think about it, an ice rink that is just a few inches deep freezes much faster than a pond that is 20+ feet deep. The same thing is true of your gas tank. One other thing you could do to avoid the gas in your tank freezing is to add gas line anti-freeze to your tank. This is especially important if you live somewhere where the temperature reaches below 0 degrees.
Don’t speed up quickly or slow down too quickly.
If you’re on ice, the last thing you would want to do is to accelerate or decelerate quickly. It’s best to just stay at a consistent speed or to speed up or slow down slowly.
Get your car serviced BEFORE winter comes around.
Check the fluid levels, rotate your tires, get new wiper blades if necessary and get your tire balance checked. It’s better to be overly prepared than to go into winter with these not done. Prevention is key.
Be sure to fully clean your windows and mirrors before you start driving.
Although you may be tempted to just quickly scrape a small section of your windshield before you head off to work in the morning, this can be very unsafe. Make sure you thoroughly scrape your windows and brush off snow. You don’t want the ice or snow to obstruct your view in any way because this creates a lot of blind spots and could potentially cause an accident.
Inspect your tires. When the temperature drops, so does your tire pressure.
Again, it’s all about prevention. The best thing you can do is to be ready for anything winter will throw at you. Keeping your tires taken care of is key to a safe drive. Wherever you may be going, this is a crucial step to staying safe on your winter drives.
Keep an “emergency pack” in your car.
A snow shovel, a scraper, an extra jacket, a blanket, hats & gloves, sand or kitty litter, a flashlight, jumper cables, a phone charger, snacks and water are all great things to keep in a car in case of an emergency.
Make sure you have low-temp windshield washer fluid.
With snow also comes slush and other not-so-great things that can not only make your car dirty, but can get on your windshield and obstruct your view. Having low-temp windshield washer fluid is very important to keep your windshield clean.
We hope that this list of tips for driving in the Cleveland winter weather helps you get ready to tackle the sometimes harsh Ohio winter. Stay safe!
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