December 30, 2021

How Can I Prepare My Vehicle for a Winter Storm?

Winter Car

The greater Philadelphia area is prone to occasional winter snowstorms that could cripple the entire region. Recent storms have dumped nearly 2 feet of snowfall in a single day, but those storms are rare. The city averages 13 inches of annual snowfall, but rainfall as well as snowfall can make wintery travels more dangerous, increasing the risk of a car accident.

Fortunately, modern weather forecasting does a great job of predicting winter storms and other bad weather. Virtually anyone can go online and view a live weather radar map that shows exactly what is happening and where the bad weather is moving. Although winter is especially volatile when it comes to weather forecasting, you still can get fair warning when a bad storm system approaches much of the time. 

When you have even a few hours of advance notice for a potentially bad snowstorm, it is possible to prepare your vehicle for a snowstorm. The following are some of the best tips to help you stay safe while driving.

Change Wiper Blades and Washer Fluid

Visibility is very important during snowy weather. Snow, sleet, slush, and road grime all collect on windshields while driving. If a bad storm is coming and you are using single-edge wiper blades and the same washer fluid that you used during the summer, you need to change them. Double- or triple-edged wiper blades push most precipitation out of the way. Also, washing fluid with deicer helps to wash away the grime without flash-freezing to the windscreen. 

If you park outside and are worried about snow accumulation overnight, a good trick is to place a piece of cardboard on top of the windshield. The wiper blades can hold the cardboard in place. When you want to go to work, you just remove the cardboard and watch the snow go away from the windshield. 

Flush and Fill Coolant

If time allows, it really helps to flush and fill the antifreeze so that the engine has good protection against frigidly cold temperatures. That is especially important if you are parking outdoors and the nighttime temperature drops into the teens or lower. 

While you are getting the coolant changed, a technician could install a hotter thermostat that lets the engine run a little hotter before circulating the coolant. A hotter thermostat produces hotter air for the defroster and heater in the passenger cabin. That will help to prevent water or washing fluid from freezing to the windscreen and make the cabin warmer.

Ensure All Lights Are Working

A winter storm means the already long nights will be even darker and more dangerous with thick cloud cover bringing lots of snow or other precipitation. You need to make sure all lights and turn signals are working properly so that you can see and be seen while driving. And if you get stuck, the flashers can help other drivers to see where your vehicle is located and avoid it. 

Mount a Set of Snow Tires

If you have the storage space and a little extra money, it helps to buy a spare set of wheels on which snow tires are mounted and balanced. If you do not have a spare set of wheels, you still could get a set of snow tires mounted and balanced on your vehicle. 

Snow tires are designed to handle deep snow that all-season radials cannot go through. Snow tires are taller and narrower than standard tires and have a more aggressive tread. That helps the snow tires to go through deeper snow and help you to maintain traction and handling. 

Pack an Emergency Kit

You should create a winter emergency kit and keep it in your vehicle. The kit should include jumper cables to help restart a weak battery. A tow strap can help another vehicle pull you out of a snowbank. You also should include a collapsible snow shovel, road flares, and some kitty litter. 

The shovel and can clear away deep snow, while the kitty litter provides traction when you pour some underneath the drive wheels. The road flares help make you more visible while getting your car unstuck. 

You also should carry an extra blanket, a flashlight, and extra batteries. That can help you to get some light while inside the cabin. While waiting for help, some beef jerky, granola bars, and some bottled water that you carry in the cabin could help to keep you fed and hydrated. 

Perform Annual Maintenance Every Fall

The best way to prepare for a winter storm is to put your vehicle through full maintenance each fall. A good fall maintenance will ensure the brakes are in good shape, balance and rotate your wheels, and change the engine oil and filter as needed. The fall maintenance also can check your battery and charging system to make sure they are working properly. If the battery is weak, replace it to help prevent stalled cars on cold winter mornings.

The fall maintenance helps you to know your vehicle is ready for winter travels under normal conditions. When a big storm is predicted, the prior tips can help you to make it through with the least impact on your life. If you still wind up in an accident caused by another driver, an experienced car accident lawyer can help you to hold liable parties accountable. 

Norristown Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Help Clients in Winter Storm Accidents

No matter how well you prepare for a wintertime storm, you still could wind up on the receiving end of another motorist’s negligent driving. If you are involved in an accident during inclement winter weather, reach out to the experienced Norristown car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Our legal team can help you to present strong cases against negligent drivers and their insurers. Call us at 267-861-7100 or visit our website to set up a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Norristown.