For drivers, winter is by far the hardest season of the year and the rate of accidents during these months goes sky high. For this reason, we have come up with a couple of tips to make your life easier during these months.
First of all, consider alternative transportation for getting from point A to point B. Before starting to search for your car through the pile of snow, think of the advantages and disadvantages of driving today. Of course, you might want to say: Why the hell did a bought a car from my hard-earned money if I’m going to take the bus? Of course, driving a car is far more convenient than taking the bus but during the winter months, a bus is considered by many to be more suitable and faster. If you choose to take the car, you will be spending at least 20-30 minutes getting rid of all that annoying snow. A bus nowadays is safer than any type of car and provides the necessary warmth and in many cases (more than you might think) it could get you to the destination faster.
However, if you still want to take the car (and we fully understand that) you should prepare it ahead of time (a little bit too late now, but bookmark this article for the next winter). The first thing to do is take out your wallet and spend a couple of hundreds of dollars for snow tires. In addition, you could also get a set of tire chains and deposit them in the trunk of your car. If you haven’t used them before, you will be shocked to find out how much traction they offer to the automobile. More than that, in some mountain passes it is obligatory to use chains. On the flip side, in some states in the US the use of chains is prohibited due to the fact that they cause damage to the road so make sure you check the current laws.
You should pack a sleeping bag or a blanket if you plan on going far away from home on long rides. Don’t forget to take the old shovel with you, along with flares, matches, candle and a small bag of sand; you don’t know when you might need it. The blanket will help you keep warm if get stuck somewhere. You will be using the flare in order to alert incoming motorists. No point on explaining what you should do with the shovel.
If you plan on travelling longer distances don’t forget to pack some food and water supplies. Speaking of water, it is useless once it’s frozen and for this reason it is highly advisable to keep it in the passenger compartment with you, otherwise the container might burst and no point of explaining the mess it will create. Once you arrive at the hotel, take the water with you.
A flare is very useful if you have had an accident but the downside is that it lasts only a few minutes. For this reason, it is highly recommended to get a battery-powered strobe which will last you a few hours. You might as well tie or tape it to the antenna of your car so that the wind won’t take it away.
Here is something that not many people know, if you take a roll of toilet tissue and remove the cardboard inner tube and stuff it in your coffee can, you will now have a stove that will help you survive the harsh cold inside the vehicle. Don’t forget to pack 3-4 12 oz. bottles of isopropyl alcohol which you will use to light the toilet tissue. Also, remember to take with you disposable aluminum pie plates. In order to set the stove on as a heat shield, take one of those plates and turn upside down and use it. The heat can be controlled with the other plate by simply covering the part of the can opening. Although this type of alcohol does not emit carbon monoxide it is advisable to open the window of your car just a little bit in order to allow fresh air to come in. You will be surprised of how useful this so-called stove can prove to be when you are stuck.
Just as well you could pack a bar or a towing rope in your car so that if you are stuck somebody could help you or vice versa. If this situation occurs, remember to carefully read the owner’s manual to find out the suitable attachment points for tow ropes because if you are not attentive, the car’s plastic bumper could become history.
It is highly advisable to remove all of the snow from your car before driving away. For this reason, you must scrape the ice/snow located on the windows, headlights, taillights and side mirrors. NEVER start driving if the windows are still fogged. Let the vehicle warm up at least until the windows are not fogged anymore. Before heading out, check all the doors of the car to see if they open and close properly. You never know when a door will open during driving due to frozen latch hardware.
By removing all the snow from your car, you will probably get some of it on your clothes. Most likely, this snow will spill into the edges of your shoes/boots too. Remove all of the snow from your clothing and shoes before getting inside the vehicle because if you don’t do so, the snow will melt and soak all of your clothing as well as the seat of the car which means that you will have a very unpleasant drive.
With the risk of repeating the same thing, warm up the car before leaving home and also remove your coat and hat before driving the car. It is advisable to take off your boots and use sneakers for better paddle handling.
Join us tomorrow for the second part of our guide. Stay tuned.