Winter driving can be treacherous – and avoiding travel when conditions are nasty is the best idea – but when travel can’t be put off, taking some simple precautions can turn a potential roadside emergency into a mere delay – and you might be able to help out a fellow traveler too.
Have A Backup Plan
The best backup is one you don’t have to think about. The only thing more valuable than the peace of mind emergency roadside assistance service can provide is the help itself. Roadside assistance plans that cover towing/winching, emergency fluid or battery replacement, and tire changes can pay for themselves in just one call. When shopping (or evaluating your current service) be sure to look for the distance covered by your tow plan. The cheapest roadside assistance plans may ask for lots more cash if you need to go more than 3-5 miles. Towbusters roadside assistance, which you can get at Acceptance Insurance, covers up to 25 miles of towing, and has other great features. Bonus points for getting Towbusters Plus, which can pay you back for some red light and speeding tickets!
It’s also a good idea to let others know your travel plans when you’re heading out in uncertain weather. Carrying a battery charger for your cellphone is a great idea – carrying a battery charger for your car is even better – they even make devices that do both.
Protect Yourself From The Elements
No matter how short you think your drive may be, having supplies that will keep you safe and warm for hours at the ready is key. Keeping emergency blankets, extra hats, gloves, and making sure you’ve got sturdy boots in case you need to trudge to safety are all important. Consider having some water and snacks in the car, too. Bonus points for keeping a high-visibility vest in the car so you can be seen at night.
Get A Grip
All-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive don’t give you more grip on snowy or icy roads. Snow tires are the best way to help you stay on the road in the winter, but can be expensive. Tire chains are a great compromise – and new plastic-metal hybrids are lightweight and inexpensive. Talk to an expert about the solution that is best for your vehicle and needs. Keeping kitty litter or road salt in the car is a classic DIY solution when you’ve got a tire or two on an icy patch – but a more versatile solution would be snow traction mats. Bonus points for carrying a shovel, and extra bonus ‘dad’ points for keeping matches, a candle and an old coffee can (for melting snow). Winching service – where your car gets pulled back on the road and you can keep driving – is the ultimate fix in this scenario (and is part of Towbusters coverage.)
You Can’t Be Too Careful
Technology like traction control, anti-lock brakes, and all-wheel/4-wheel drive are helpful, but often provide a false sense of security. If you’re not used to driving in snow or ice, go slowly. Practice in an open parking lot where you can’t do any damage. Driving on ice and snow is dangerous – but with practice and preparation you can enjoy all that winter has to offer. Stay safe, stay covered!