How to Maintain Control of Your Car in Winter

car in the winter

Today in Harrisburg, there was a balmy high of 33 degrees—practically t-shirt weather. A bit of snow, but who keeps score?

Winter can be cruel in Pennsylvania, and we're used to it. But even the hardiest Pennsylvanian isn't immune to icy roads, which is why the risk of an accident goes up after the roads freeze. So, to give our readers a refresher, here's a guide to taking care of (and maintaining control of) your car in winter.

Preventative Tips for Driving in Snow

As Ben Franklin wrote, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Maintaining control of your car in winter is half about maintaining your car, period. Getting all-season or snow tires are a no-brainer, especially if your tires are worn down from the summer. Winter tires remain flexible in lower temperatures, which makes them ideal for braking and turning on cold roads.

However, there are other important ways to get your car safe for winter:

  • Restore your yellowed headlights—the clearer your lights, the safer you'll be in dwindling daylight.
  • Flush your radiator and refill with a 50% mixture of coolant and water, which results in a lower freezing point.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full; if you're ever stuck behind a multi-vehicle crash on a closed highway, you'll be thankful for the extra fuel.
  • Check your tire pressure as temperatures drop; low pressure could separate your treads, which could cause a catastrophic collision.

How to Drive in Snow & Ice

Once you've taken care to winterize your car, there are a few fundamental ways to drive safely in icy conditions. In general, you should drive slower than you usually do, give other drivers more space than you typically would, and don't let yourself get caught in a storm without a car survival kit.

More specific ways to drive safely in winter include:

  • Don't touch cruise control; loss of traction could inadvertently trigger increased acceleration.
  • Slow down before bridges and overpasses; cold winds passing underneath bridges means they freeze sooner than roads.
  • Steer and brake early but slowly, as quick reactions could cause you to lose control. Keep adjustments gradual but firm.

As long as you remain vigilant out there, this winter won't claim your car (or you) as a casualty. But if it does, call Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC. For 100 years, we've been the leading advocates for injured people in central Pennsylvania.

Get a free consultation at (888) 498-3023 today.

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