When we think of winter driving, the tendency is to envision lots of ice and snow. While this is true for much of the country, another factor is extended hours of darkness. So even if you live in a temperate climate, winter’s coming, and it’s important to prepare beforehand. It’s also smart to compare auto insurance before the season sets in to make sure your coverage and rates are ready for winter risks.

Every Car Should Have…

Winter often brings challenges you won’t face in the warmer months. If you live in a frigid area, the National Safety Council recommends keeping a kit in the trunk of your car containing the following:

● Shovel

● Compass

● Tool kit

● Jumper cables

● First aid kit

● Windshield cleaner

● Tow and tire chains

● Flashlight and extra batteries

● Reflective triangles or flares

● Scissors and string or cord

● Ice scraper and snowbrush

● Blankets, mittens, socks and hats

● Matches in a waterproof container

● Properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod jack

● Bag of salt or cat litter for better tire traction or to melt snow

● High-energy non-perishable foods like unsalted, canned nuts and dried fruits

These items could save your life if you get stuck on an icy road in a remote area.

Perform Routine Maintenance Now

Fall is a great time to refresh all your fluids and filters after the months of warm weather driving. Experts at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence say doing it now will save you from having to conduct these tasks in poor weather.

At a minimum, you’ll want to change your oil and filters, flush and refill your cooling system, replace the blades on your windshield wipers, get your battery tested, inspect and replace bulbs as needed and make sure your heater and defroster work properly. Check your hoses and belts to ensure they’ll carry you through the season.

Give Your Tires Special Consideration

As substantial as your car might feel, the reality is it is only connected to the ground by four patches of rubber about the size of the palm of one of your hands. This is what ensures your car accelerates, brakes, and turns when you ask it to. Winter driving makes this more difficult for tires as there is usually more precipitation on the roadway with which they must contend. Make sure they have adequate tread and are properly inflated for the conditions in your area. Inflation information will be found in your owner’s manual. Neglecting your tires is asking to be involved in an accident. If you live in an area with lots of snow, you should also switch over to a snow tire for the winter season.

As the Game of Thrones character Ned Stark frequently warns the residents of the mythical land of Westeros, winter is coming. It’s important to prepare beforehand to stave off its ravages. This is also a great time to compare auto insurance to make sure you have the coverage you need at the best prices available. Try CoverHound for fast, free quotes.

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