It happens every year. Mother Nature shows up with a delivery of snow and ice for the greater Des Moines area. From a window seat in your home, it’s nice to look out at the winter wonderland. And if you’re lucky, you don’t have to head out the door to drive to work, go to school, or stock up on groceries to weather the storm.
But what if you do need to get behind the wheel? Plenty of people still need to drive during winter weather. If you’re prepared, you’re more likely to get to your destination without incident. But that’s not always the case. For example, this past Monday, slick conditions on I-80 near Altoona caused a 25-car pile-up, and blocked Interstate 80 westbound for hours.
You can’t always prevent an accident, especially in difficult driving conditions. But you can take steps to lower the chance of having problems if you do go somewhere during bad weather.
Here are five ways to make winter weather driving safer:
Keep your car topped off with gas. If you get stuck in a line of cars because of a road closure, you’ll be able to keep your car warm and running, without worrying about the tank running dry.
Schedule routine maintenance on your car. It’s a good way to save money and prevent costly repairs. But it also gives you peace of mind, especially during winter weather, knowing your car is reliable and running properly. You don’t want to find out your brakes aren’t working right or your defroster is broken in the middle of storm. Get your battery checked. Make sure the wiper fluid and antifreeze reservoirs are full. Little things like this can help prevent problems.
Use studless or studded winter tires. If you want to improve the way your car handles in conditions like drivers experienced on Highway 80, getting studded or studless winter tires can make a big difference. A lot of times, it’s your driveway and neighborhood side streets that make winter weather driving the most difficult. Use winter weather tires or carry chains/traction devices just in case.
Pack emergency supplies. You don’t have to turn your car into a survivalist bunker, but having some emergency supplies on hand when you’ll be driving in winter weather is a good idea. Consider storing things like basic tools, a blanket, snack food, road flares, and a first aid kit in your trunk or back of the car. Keep an ice scraper handy, too.
Slow down. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the 25-car pile-up on Highway 80. You can’t always prevent an accident when the roads are covered in snow and ice, but speed is often a factor. Slow down. You’ll have better control over your car, and be more likely to avoid an accident.
If you know it’s time to give your car a tune-up, or you’ve been putting off doing something about that funny noise coming from under the hood, don’t wait until winter weather leaves you out in the cold.
Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.