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  Winter driving: Tips To Keep You Safe  

It’s the morning of your big presentation at work. You know, the one you were up late perfecting in the hopes that you might seal that promotion. Or maybe you had four lunches to pack after the kids were asleep. Or you wanted to spend a little precious time with your significant other. In any case, you were too overworked, exhausted and distracted to catch the late weather report. And now it’s -2 degrees at 7 a.m. and your car won’t start. Want to avoid this situation? Read on for easy tips to keep your car (hence your life) running smoothly during the long winter months.

Ready your engine

Did you know that your car battery can lose half its strength in cold weather? Also, an engine in need of a tune up is much more likely to break down in extreme temperatures. Those are just two of many reasons why it’s important to have your car thoroughly serviced now. In addition to scheduling an oil change, have your mechanic check your antifreeze mixture and all your belts and hoses to save you a huge headache down the road.

Your windows and windshield

Rather than finding yourself desperately peering through an increasingly icy windshield, why not get a pair of winter-worthy wipers? While you’re at it, fill your windshield washer fluid reservoir with de-icing washer fluid. Make sure you at least have fluid that can withstand freezing temperatures.

Tire tips

The only things holding your car on the road are four little patches of rubber. At no time is tire maintenance more important than in inclement (and cold) weather. Parked inside or out, your tires will lose about a pound of pressure for every ten-degree drop in temperature. This decrease can dangerously affect your car’s handling and traction. Regularly checking for proper winter tire pressure is a must. And be sure to keep your tires’ valve stem caps on to keep out moisture, which can freeze and allow air to escape. If your car is missing one or all of them, you can purchase a set very inexpensively at your local automotive store.

If you live in a particularly snowy or hilly area, you may want to invest in a set of snow tires and/or chains. Check with a reputable tire shop for advice on the best options for your car and region.

Final thoughts

When expecting frigid temperatures, put a little tape over your car’s locks to keep out moisture and prevent freezing. Also, keep a straw in your bag; your breath can help thaw frozen locks if you don’t have de-icer on hand. Completely clear your car of snow and ice; not just your windshield! Don’t be that dangerous driver with only a peephole for each window. You also do not want the snow on the roof of your car to slide off and hit the car behind you.

Carry an emergency kit. Include (at least): a cell phone charger, a blanket, a shovel and a bag of sand to help with traction if you were to get stuck.

ALWAYS keep your gas tank at least half full. This will help in preventing the fuel lines from freezing.

With these tips in mind, the season’s cold may slow you down, but won’t put an end to your daily routines.