Stay Safe: Top 5 Winter Driving Tips

view of long road with snow falling and sun coming through trees

Snowy, wet, and icy road conditions are the leading causes of accidents during the winter. Traveling in these conditions can be nerve-wracking and stressful. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that more than 150,000 car accidents happen each year due to icy roads. Learning some winter driving tips can help you stay safe on the road.

Make sure you have the right coverage for your needs in your auto insurance policy. The team at Lake Region Insurance Agency can help you feel confident that you are well-covered.

Hit the Road With These Winter Driving Tips

Winter driving in Minnesota has its risks and concerns. But with awareness and education, you can feel ready to drive safely all year long. Take a look at these five tips.

1. Purchase Winter Tires 

There are a few different types of tires available for vehicles:

  • Summer
  • Winter
  • All-Season

Summer tires have smaller tread because the roads are generally clear and safe to drive on during the summertime. All-season tires have a thicker tread than summer tires and are suitable to use year-round in many parts of the country. 

Winter tires have the most substantial tread and provide the most traction for driving in dicey road conditions. Studded tires are a type of winter tire that has metal studs in the tread for traction on icy roads.

All-season tires have enough tread to provide an adequate grip on maintained roads. They are a safe choice if you live in an urban area where the streets are plowed regularly. 

However, on inconsistently-plowed roads, all-season tires are an unsafe option. For those who live in rural areas or small towns, winter tires are the safest choice. If you opt for studded tires, be sure to check the regulations where you live to know if and when they are legal to use.

2. Pay Attention to Windshield Wipers and Washer Fluid

Snow, ice, and road maintenance chemicals will be attacking your windshield all winter long. Not to mention the dirt, gravel, and grime that splatters up at your car as you drive. In these conditions, your visibility can disappear quickly.  

It is essential to check your windshield wipers at the beginning of the winter season. You want to ensure that they are working well and that the blades are in acceptable condition. Many Minnesota drivers replace their wiper blades each year when winter arrives.

How do you keep your windshield washer fluid from freezing? Making sure the washer fluid tank is full helps you avoid this problem. You can also choose a windshield washer fluid that is specifically for wintertime. Its formula helps prevent it from freezing.

And of course, parking your vehicle in the garage can keep fluids from freezing and help protect your car from the cold weather. Blankets placed over the hood of your vehicle can also help keep everything working correctly.

3. Have Tools for Ice and Snow Removal

Unless your garage is available for parking, winter driving in Minnesota means clearing off your car in the morning before heading to work. A combination snow brush and ice scraper is a great tool to keep in your vehicle. Having one on hand makes it easier to remove all the ice and snow from your car in the morning. 

First, you should brush the snow off all the surface areas of your car. Brush the hood, windows, and roof. Once you have cleaned much of the snow off your vehicle, you can use the ice scraper tool to remove any ice from the windows. 

It is crucial to remove the snow from your car before you start your commute. Snow left on the hood of the vehicle can blow onto the windshield, and snow from the roof can fall onto your windshield when you brake. Both of these problems limit your visibility. Take some extra time in the morning to be thorough when clearing your car.

4. Check Your Car Battery and Antifreeze

Spoiler alert – cars don’t love the cold. One way to ensure that your vehicle will get you from point A to point B all winter long is to check that your battery is in good working condition. If your battery is old, it may not make it through a Minnesota winter. 

According to AAA, your car battery loses up to 60 percent of its power as the temperature drops. Historically, car batteries have had a lifespan of about three to five years. But now, with the increasing usage of electronics in cars, the lifespan of a battery is shrinking. All that phone charging takes a toll on the strength of your battery. 

Antifreeze is vital when it comes to winter driving tips. It keeps the radiator’s water from boiling in the summer and freezing in the winter. If the antifreeze gets too low, it can cause the water in the cooling system to freeze. Once that happens, it can cause cracks in the pipes that will require costly repairs.

Be sure to check your antifreeze level regularly and top it off as needed. It is also critical to have your radiator flushed and cleaned according to your vehicle’s manufacturer recommendations.

5. Keep Up with Car Maintenance

Before hitting the road during the winter, double-check that your vehicle is up-to-date on all of its maintenance. With proper upkeep, your car will experience fewer problems and keep you safer when you’re driving in snow and ice. Keep up with regular oil changes, battery checks, and other routine services.

Common sense goes a long way in making sure you have a safe winter on the road. Keep plenty of gas in the tank, make sure your windows and headlights are clean, and keep fluids topped off.

Following these winter driving tips should help you have a safe season of commuting. The more thorough you prepare, the better.

Lake Region Insurance Agency Can Help

If you need a quote on auto insurance or aren’t sure if you have adequate coverage, reach out to our Lake Region team today. We will work through every detail with you for home, auto, health, and life insurance.

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