Winter Driving Tips for Drivers in New Jersey

Driving in New Jersey gets a little stressful in the winter months when it sometimes feels as though the snow will never stop falling. While it is best to stay home when the weather is hazardous, it simply isn’t always possible to avoid driving when snow continues for weeks. Fortunately, a little practice and common sense goes a long way toward helping you stay safe on the roads, and these tips will provide you with greater confidence when you must drive in the snow.

Keep Your Car Maintained

The safety features on your car become even more important in winter weather. Make sure that the windshield wipers are in good condition to keep your view clear, and inspect the brakes to see if you need to arrange for car repair. Once you know the safety features are ready to go, take it one step further by making sure that your car’s tires and the battery are ready for the colder temperatures so that you don’t get stranded.

Adjust Your Speed

One of the most effective things you can do to avoid an accident in slick conditions is to simply slow down. When snow covers the ground, you may need to reduce your speed down from the recommended limit by as much as half. Try to plan to leave early enough that you are not pressured to rush and drive faster than is safe given the current road conditions.

Use Caution When Stopping

At our auto service center, we perform a variety of services such as rotor replacement that keep your brakes in good working condition. However, you must also know how to use your brakes correctly to avoid potential skids and spin-outs. Never slam on your brakes. Instead, apply firm, steady pressure with your foot on the pedal until your car stops. It is also best to avoid stopping on a hill if the road is covered in ice.

Know How to Get Unstuck

Sticking to plowed roads is the best way to avoid dealing with a stuck vehicle. Yet, you should also know how to get your car out of a snowdrift or past an ice patch if you can’t avoid driving into one. Carry kitty litter or sand in your car to use to generate traction on slick surfaces, and always remember to avoid spinning your tires since this tends to make you get stuck worse.

Leave Extra Room

In winter weather, one of the biggest hazards on the road is other drivers. Try to give yourself plenty of room on the road so that you have time to react if the car in front of you spins out or comes to a sudden stop. If people drive too fast for your comfort, then stay in the slow lane and turn on your hazards to alert other drivers that you are not going the full speed limit.

Keep safe this winter season by adding a few safety strategies to your normal driving routine. While it does take time to learn how to drive in snow or icy conditions, you will feel like a pro in no time with a little practice and careful car maintenance.

What Everyone Should Have in Their Winter Car Kits

New Jersey is known for its frigid winter weather that can quickly turn a minor car problem into an emergency situation. For this reason, we always recommend that every driver have a winter kit stored in their car that has everything needed to handle an unexpected event on the road. As you prepare to drive through the snow this season, use this guide to make sure your kit is fully stocked with winter gear.

A Small Shovel

Few things are worse than getting stuck in the snow, but this is possible if you swerve to avoid an accident or misjudge the lack of traction on a road. Your car kit should have a small shovel; you can easily find compact ones that fit in the back of any car. If you get stuck in a drift, simply use the shovel to dig the snow away from the tires so that you have a path allowing the tires to grip the pavement.

Traction Materials

In some instances, you might need to do more than just dig your way out, and this commonly occurs when your tires hit ice. Keep some type of material in your car that you can use to create more traction. A bag of sand, kitty litter, or small pebbles are all great materials that can be used to create traction.

Jumper Cables

When you take your car in for a complete oil change and tune up, be sure to ask our technicians about the condition of your car’s battery. During the winter, fluctuating temperatures can cause the battery fluid to get low enough that it no longer works properly. Once you know your car battery is in good condition, be sure to throw some jumper cables in the kit just in case you or someone else leaves the lights on.

Tire Changing Equipment

A flat tire is unsafe to drive on in any weather, but it is especially dangerous to try to maneuver your vehicle on slick roads with a bad tire. Make sure that your kit is equipped with a jack, wrench, and a strong set of gloves to keep your hands warm as you work. If there’s space, a portable air compressor is another item to add to your kit that can get you to safety if one of your tires gets low.

Warm Clothing and a Blanket

You should also be prepared to stay safe if you must wait on the side of the road for a member of our car repair company to come help. Add a warm coat, gloves, and hat to the kit for each member of your family, and consider adding snow boots and a waterproof jacket in case you must be outside in winter weather for any length of time.

Winter weather creates serious hazards on the road, and plummeting temperatures can escalate minor car problems, such as a cracked hose, into serious issues. Make it a habit to check your winter kit periodically to replace any items that are needed, and you will always be prepared to handle any roads