How to prepare your car for winter conditions to avoid accidents

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Winter car essentials

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – January temperatures especially frigid and cold air can impact vehicle performance and road conditions, that is why it’s important to prepare your car for winter according to the AAA Northeast Auto Club.

Battery failures are the primary reason for emergency calls to AAA Northeast in winter month and why the AAA recommends the following to prepare your vehicle for cold weather conditions:

  • Emergency roadside kit: Always stay prepared by carrying an emergency roadside kit in your vehicle in the event of a breakdown
  • Battery and charging system: If it is more than three years old, consider having the car battery tested. To start up during a cold snap, your car will need a fully charged battery
  • Tires: Examine tires for tread depth and uneven wearing, proper tire tread increases traction with the road surface in poor weather conditions and can prevent skids on icy or wet surfaces 
  • Coolant: Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold and inspect the cooling system lines for leakages, cracks, or loose clamps
  • Oil: be sure to have your oil changed based on the manufacturer’s recommendations, synthetic oil can be an advantage in cold weather because it will allow for faster starts
  • Wipers: replace any wiper blade that does not adequately clean the windshield and consider installing winter wiper blades winter blades to assist in preventing snow and ice buildup that can interfere with windshield visibility

“A car engine needs about 30% more energy to start when the temperatures drop to freezing. At zero degrees your vehicle battery can only deliver 50% of its rated capacity,” said John Paul, AAA Northeast Senior Manager of Traffic Safety.

According to the AAA Northeast Auto Club, cold winter weather can increase a driver’s chance of getting into a collision if they are not inspecting their vehicles and remembering to drive cautiously in the event of snow or ice.

The AAA also reminds drivers to not drive unless necessary in snow or icy conditions, and for those who drive to do it slowly and refrain from using cruise control. Drivers should also try to maintain some distance between vehicles and avoid slamming on the accelerator or brake.

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