Its hard to believe that another Winter is upon us! OK, officially it’s not quite winter yet as the official date is December 21 in the U.S., but it sure feels like winter in the Seattle area. We had some snow and cold weather a couple of weeks ago making life somewhat difficult for the local driving schools. Drivers ed requires a minimum number of classes and drives so there has been much rescheduling in the Northwest. Seattle set a new low temperature last month and this winter has been billed as a cold one – with La Nina providing a helping hand. Winter driving is serious business and it is worth sharing a few pointers to help in dealing with the upcoming winter season. Driving School Amsterdam
Check tire condition. The condition of the tires on your car is important at all times. However, going into snow season, its even more important. For most people, good all-around tires with good tread – in Washington state its 4/32 inch and varies from state to state). For winter, 6/32 inch tire tread would be a better minimum tread depth. Even better is to install special winter tires, which are designed for the best traction on snow and ice.
Check the tire pressure. As with tire condition, tire pressure becomes more critical in the winter. Check the vehicle owner’s manual for the proper winter tire pressure. Also, realize that tire pressure should be “normalized” for the temperature, which should be covered in the owner’s manual. If you’re not in possession of the owner’s manual, a quick call to the local tire shop can yield the correct pressures.
Check the antifreeze levels. Winter is not the time to skimp on antifreeze! The water in the engine coolant system as well as all cleaning agents (windshield wipers, headlight cleaners, etc.) can freeze in cold weather. You can either take your car to a local shop for a quick check or purchase a hygrometer to determine the proper level of protection for your area.
Pack warm clothes. Drivers ed motto – always be prepared! Winter storms can happen quickly and sometimes without much notice. Pack boots, gloves, and a hat – the warmer, the better. Being caught in a bad winter storm without proper clothing is not a lot of fun if you have to walk any distance, which can happen to due a disabled or stuck vehicle.
Keep fuel in the tank. Its always good to be worry-free by having fuel in your tank. However, in the winter its best to keep the fuel tank at least one-half full at all times. It is not much fun having to walk very far in the middle of a bad winter storm and running out of fuel is not much of an excuse.
Pack snow chains and shovel. Having both of these items available is a good idea in winter. Many locations, such as mountain passes, often require snow chains during a winter storm. And if the snow really starts coming down, putting on the snow chains can potentially keep you on the right track and out of trouble