On your own at college, but your car still needs TLC

Tips to keep you on the road in ice and snow

By Mac Williams

            During the winter months the Ohio Department of Transportation reiterates their slogan, “When there’s ice and snow, take it slow.” For many the winter driving season becomes particularly hazardous when temperatures plummet and winter storms roll in.

            According to autotrader.com, there are several things that drivers can do to take care of their car in the winter to ensure optimal performance in wintry weather. First, it is recommended that drivers check the lights on their car according to autotrader. During the winter months people are often driving in the dark or around sunrise and sunset, so having all lights working and ready to go will help keep you safe.

            According to Courtney Van Horn, a junior at The University of Findlay, lighting is really overlooked when it comes to winter driving.

            “I see so many cars that have headlights out and brake lights out, and especially during storms it makes it really hard to see them on the road,” said Van Horn.

            Secondly, autotrader recommends that you test your battery prior to winter to make sure it is in good working condition. If it is not, it is recommended that the battery be replaced as soon as possible. According to William Spraw, the university police chief, dead batteries are the biggest issue they see with student’s cars on campus.

            “The biggest problem we run into is dead batteries. If you don’t drive your car for a while, students should start their car it at least once a week and let it run for a while,” said Spraw.

            Additionally, AAA recommends that drivers check the coolant and windshield washer fluid levels prior to winter. According to AAA, coolant helps prevent the car’s engine from freezing during cold temperatures. According to AAA, it is also important to inspect all engine hoses for cracks and leaks to ensure optimal performance. The windshield washer fluid, however, helps to clean the windshield of salt and other debris from winter storms. 

            Furthermore, AAA recommends checking the tire pressure on vehicles regularly during the winter months. According to AAA, tire pressure can drop as much as one pound per square inch (PSI) for every ten degrees Fahrenheit the temperature drops. The appropriate tire pressure for most vehicles can be found on the sticker inside the driver’s side door, as well as on the tire itself. Additionally, AAA recommends having a snow brush or ice scrapper in your car to make sure you can clean off your windshield as well as windows before you hit the road.

            Finally, AAA recommends having an emergency road kit inside your care during the winter months to ensure drivers can survive being stranded in the cold. According to AAA, drivers should include the following items in their emergency kit: Flashlight, jumper cables, roadside flares, blanket, gloves, hats, portable shovel, bottle of water, phone charger, and a bag of salt.

            Using these simple tips can help keep your car on the road during the winter months, and you safe if something happens. Always remember ODOT’s slogan, “When there is ice and snow, take it slow.”

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