Many people assume that because Baton Rouge and other parts of Louisiana do not see very much snow that there is little to do to prepare for winter driving. However, our roads can and do get both wet and icy sometimes, especially when traveling north, and cold temperatures can affect your vehicle and make your drive more dangerous. These are the important steps you should take to prepare for winter through fluctuating temperatures and cold-weather travels.
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Before You Go
You should plan long road trips carefully during the winter months. This includes monitoring the latest highway conditions through either local radio or by calling the state highway patrol or checking their website online. Be aware that if you are headed on a road trip that will take you to other parts of the nation, you may encounter snow. Ensure that your car is prepared for that possibility.
Additionally, waking up earlier before you head out for a drive and preparing your car can save you time and money and keep you safe. Letting your engine run before you turn on the heat will save you gas. If you travel northward, ensure you scrape away any and all frost on your windshield and windows that builds up over the cold night for a safe drive.
In Your Car
Preparing a winter car kit can not only keep you warm this winter, it can also keep you safe, especially if you are planning on traveling to a colder climate. Some of the items you should plan to store in this kit include:
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- A first aid kit
- A pocket knife
- Rain gear and an extra set of clothes
- A small sack of sand that can be used for generating traction beneath your tires
- Jumper cables
- A brightly colored cloth that can be used as a flag to alert others that you need help
- Water and nonperishable snacks, such as nuts
It is important that you also keep copies of your vehicle registration, as well as the name and policy number of your insurance policy in the event of an accident.
Under the Hood
Before winter arrives each year, you should have a mechanic take a look at your car in order to ensure that any maintenance issues are taken care of. Among the things your mechanic should check are:
- Windshield wipers and wiper fluid
- Exhaust system
- Oil (consider replacing existing oil with a winter grade variety)
You should also ensure that your tires are holding air and have good tread on them. Remember that any fluctuation in temperature can cause a reduction in tire air pressure, so you need to be checking your air pressure regularly during winter months. Fluctuating temperatures can also affect your oil, so don’t forget to check your oil level to ensure safe travels.
On the Road
There are essentially three rules to road safety during winter driving:
- Stay alert. Pay attention to weather reports, and pay attention to the task of driving.
- Slow down. Remember that it takes an amount of time and distance to stop a moving vehicle. Part of the time required is the time it takes for you to spot a hazard on the roadway, perceive it as a danger, and respond by pressing on your brakes. The rest of the time and distance is required in order to stop the weight of the vehicle. The heavier the vehicle is, the more distance is required. Roads that are slick will require even more distance to come to a safe stop, regardless of the weight of the vehicle.
- Stay in control. Vehicles are easier to control if they’re going at a speed that is safe for the condition of the road. This speed may be less than the posted limit. Staying in control also means you are prepared if winter weather offers different travel conditions than you anticipated.
Gauthier Amedee Will Go to Bat for You
Even with all of your preparations, you still can’t control the actions of other drivers. If you have been injured in an accident as a result of another driver’s careless or reckless behavior, an experienced car accident attorney from Gauthier Amedee is ready to go to bat for your right to compensation. We’re hard hitters when it comes to seeking maximum settlements for our clients. Learn more through a free case review today.