I lived in heavy snow country for many years when my husband and I first married, and it was always important to get ready for winter driving. I thought when we moved to Texas that I was putting that behind me. However, after a few years here, I’ve come to realize that it is just as important here where snow fall is rare, and usually light.
It has been even more important in the last few years when we’ve been hit by some unusually large snow falls. Just this last winter we got hit by a bit snow fall of over 11 inches. That was mind blowing to most Texans who usually get spooked over a mild dusting of snow.
I usually start my winter driving preparedness in mid-November, before all the holidays, but not too early. I thought about starting it even earlier after last year, but I got caught up in the Halloween festivities with my two girls, and it got pushed back.
I figured it was more important to enjoy those times with them since they are getting older, and pretty soon Halloween isn’t going to be as much fun as it is now. So, I’m getting ready to begin my winter checklist in November again this year.
The first thing I do is go over my car insurance. Of course, car insurance is important at any time of the year, but I want to make sure the insurance I am carrying is the best I can get for the money. I read auto insurance reviews to see what other companies are offering, and compare them to my current policy.
After that, I compare the prices of the various policies to make sure I am getting a good deal for the amount of insurance I have. Since we have a house and a few other assets, I don’t want a particularly cheap policy if it comes at the cost of coverage value. I want my insurance to at least cover up to the amount of assets we have so we don’t lose the house because of an accident.
Winter Automobile Maintenance
Since I take the cars in for oil changes every few months anyway, I usually end up having to take them in during the month of November. When I do, I have the oil changed to a lighter weight of oil so it doesn’t gum up if the temperatures drop.
I have the mechanics do a quick check up of other fluids and I also have the tires checked to be sure the threads are good, and they are generally in good shape. If there are any problems with the tires, I have them changed. Good threads are important when the roads are slippery from winter snow or freezing rain.
Getting Prepared for Snow Emergencies
After the car is mechanically ready for snow, I make sure the emergency kit in the trunk is in good shape. I always carry the following items in my emergency kit:
- 2 quarts of oil
- A gallon of fresh water
- Screwdrivers and wrenches
- A tire jack and lug wrench
- Some small pillows
- A couple of blankets
Most of the items stay good indefinitely, but water can get stale and even grow algae over time. Being in a dark trunk helps, but I try to rotate the water in the emergency kit several times a year. One of those times is in November when I’m preparing the car for driving in the snow.
Batteries are another thing that can drain over time even when not in use. I never keep batteries in the flashlight when it’s not in use. That prevents them from corroding and ruining the flashlight. There’s nothing more aggravating than reaching for a flashlight and having it not work, and not even changing the batteries will help if it’s corroded.
Finally, mental preparation is important when getting ready to drive in snow. Some things to remember are:
- Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going, and never rush
- Go slower when streets are wet and slippery, even below the speed limit where necessary
- Don’t cut people off, and don’t crowd from behind. Give yourself plenty of stopping room.
Take your time, be prepared and enjoy the holidays and the beautiful snow covered scenery.
Our guest author, freelance writer Melissa Cameron, spends a lot of time researching the best ways to save money, and get the best deals. That includes finding the best ways to get insurance for her car. Compare car insurance online and make sure you get the best deals, she always tells her readers. Melissa also writes about parenting and living with her husband and two girls, while investigating the local history of Austin, Texas.