How to Stay Safe on the Road During Inclement Weather

Inclement weather in New Jersey can range from a rapidly moving squall to major snowstorms. While you might not be able to do much about the weather, you do have control over how you drive and take care of your vehicle. Use these tips to stay safe on the road no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.

Maintain the Brakes

Quality brakes make a difference for being able to stop properly in slick conditions. Unfortunately, winter weather can contribute to brake problems by causing corrosion. Watch for signs that your brakes are having issues such as making squealing or grinding sounds, or vibrations when you try to stop. If you suspect an issue is developing, then search for a brake service near me so that they are repaired or replaced before the next storm.

Keep the Tires in Good Condition

In addition to the brakes, your tires play a role in helping you maintain control of the vehicle on slick roads. Choose tires that are designed for the driving conditions. In some cases, it may be necessary to switch to all-season or snow tires if you live in an area that gets hit with freezing precipitation. Then, have the tires inspected, aligned, and rotated at your nearby auto service center.

Choose the Safest Route

Today, drivers benefit from GPS technology that allows you to check for alternate routes during times of inclement weather. Always check the weather and traffic reports before you head out for a drive. Then, assess your current route, and check for alternatives if your intended path contains hazardous conditions. Not only does this save you time, but you may also avoid potential accidents.

Take It Slow

After years of driving in bad weather, it is easy to get overly confident about your skills. However, even racecar drivers know to slow down when the road conditions become dangerous. Always follow the recommended speed limit in good weather, and be prepared to slow down by as much as half in icy conditions. In some cases, you may need to reduce the speed even more if you find that visibility is hindered by falling precipitation.

Leave Space Between Vehicles

On a slick road, your car will require more time to stop, even when the brakes are in good condition. Therefore, you will want to leave more room than usual between you and the car in front of you. This also protects you from having an accident if the driver in front stops suddenly. Remember that you should never slam on the brakes in ice or snow. Instead, gently apply pressure, and try to brake long before you actually need to stop.

Carry an Emergency Kit

At times, you may still find it necessary to call for a tow if you get stuck in snow or someone else hits your car. When this happens, it helps to have supplies on hand to keep you safe during an emergency. Keep an emergency kit in your car with things such as a raincoat to keep you dry in bad weather. Then, check to make sure your kit has safety supplies such as flares to increase your visibility.

When you can’t stay home, knowing how to stay safe on the road in inclement weather is critical. By caring for your car and adjusting your driving habits, you can look forward to arriving at your destination safely.

The Ultimate Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Proper maintenance of your vehicle not only helps to get the most mileage out of it, but it is also one of the most effective ways to avoid a dreaded breakdown on the side of the road. While the maintenance requirements for your specific vehicle may vary, you should be aware of the most common tasks that are required for the majority of cars and trucks on the roads. Read through this list and make sure to take your car in for a tune-up if you notice that it is in need of professional maintenance.

Check the Oil and Coolant Levels

The fluids in your car play an essential role in temperature regulation and help to lubricate moving parts. Begin by checking the oil and coolant levels regularly to make sure that the proper amount of fluids is in the engine to keep everything running smoothly. While you can expect some fluid loss over time, you should be concerned if you notice a drastically low level, since this could indicate a leak in your system. Make sure to mention this when you take your car in for its regular oil change and tune up.

Get the Brakes Inspected

The brakes on your car are subjected to tremendous pressure every time you tap the pedal. While high-quality brake pads and rotors can last for many miles, you must schedule regular brake inspections to make sure that they are in top condition. Between servicing, keep an eye out for warning signs of wear such as squeals when you brake or a pedal that has more give than it normally would.

Assess the Safety Features

At some point, almost every driver has noticed someone driving with a taillight out, and failing lights put you at risk for an accident. Face your car toward a solid wall such as the garage door, and turn on the headlights to see if you can detect them working. You can also recruit a partner to watch as you tap the brake lights and use the turn signals to make sure that they are working properly.

Give the Tires a Lookover

The tires on your car help to maintain traction on slippery surfaces, and they must be properly inflated to keep your car steering properly. Check the tire pressure every time that you stop for gas, and inspect the entire set at least once a month. Keep in mind that your spare tire should be included in this inspection so that it is always ready in case of an emergency.

Find Out About Long-Term Maintenance Needs

While oil changes and tire inflations occur often enough that you should not forget them, there are other maintenance needs that happen after a certain number of months or miles pass by. When you take your car into the auto service center, ask about what maintenance tasks are coming up so that you can plan accordingly. For example, four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles have a transfer case that requires the fluid to be filled and replaced periodically.

Although car maintenance might not be your favorite thing to do, it is critical to stay on top of the tasks that keep your vehicle running and protect your safety on the road. When you are strapped on time, just bring your vehicle in for a professional check up so that you never have to worry about an essential task going undone.