Winter here, and families who live in snowy areas know how important it is to prepare for months and months of snow. From weatherproofing the house to getting out the winter gear to preparing vehicles for winter weather, proper preparation will do wonders for your safety and comfort when the world freezes over.
Safety is especially important when you're out driving, because icy roads and poor visibility can easily spell disaster to drivers, passengers and pedestrians. I lived in Boston for two years and learned quickly to make sure my car was safe to drive before going anywhere in the winter. Even now that I live in sunny California, we still drive up to the mountains to enjoy the snow several times a year, and every time we go, I make sure we're prepared for driving in winter conditions. After all, Better Safe than Sorry... or should I say, Better Safe than Snowy!
If you're gearing up to brave the elements this winter, here are five great tips from the International Car Wash Association for getting your car ready for winter ( ICA, through its Wash With Watersavers consumer awareness campaign, is committed to promoting the importance of using eco-friendly carwashes that use less water and return clean water back into the environment):
· Check your tires. Before the roads get slick, check your tires to be sure they aren’t worn and that they are properly inflated. You should be able to find the proper tire pressure on the inside of your driver’s side door. Cold air will cause the air in your tires to compress and may cause your tires to lose pressure, so make a note to check again later in the winter.
· Wash and wax your car at a professional car wash. Putting your car through the car wash during the sloppiest season of the year may seem a strange idea but a thorough wash can remove harmful compounds that may cause damage when mixed with sand and road salt. Experts from the International Carwash Association also recommend a coat of wax for an extra layer of protection from the elements. Besides protecting your car, you’ll also be protecting the environment. Professional car washes can save up to 20 percent of the amount of water you’d use by washing your car at home. They do this by treating and reusing their water, rather than releasing toxic chemicals and grime into the storm drains, which can often occur when you wash your car yourself. You can learn more about the environmental benefits of a professional car wash at washwithwatersavers.com.
· Check your brakes. Your brakes will work harder once the icy conditions of winter set in. Make sure they are up to the task by bringing your vehicle in to your mechanic for a thorough brake inspection.
· Check fluids. In the winter, no fluid is more important than your coolant because, if you’re out of coolant, you’re out of heat. Your owner’s manual will tell you how much coolant you need as well and provide the correct blend. It’s also never a bad idea to keep an additional bottle of coolant in your car for emergencies.
· Winter emergency kit. If you find yourself stranded by the side of the road, a winter survival kit can be very helpful. Include an ice scraper/brush, extra blankets or clothes – including hats and gloves – snacks and bottled water and a first aid kit. A small shovel can come in handy if you get stuck and a bag of cat litter can be used to provide needed traction for your tires.
Win a Cold Weather Survival Kit
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive a cold weather survival kit created by WaterSavers, to help you feel prepared for winter. The prize pack includes:
- First aid kit
- flashlight/signal torch
- 2 AA batteries
- 2 emergency candles
- box of safety matches
- 2 hand warmers
- emergency water bag (1 gallon capacity)
- survival compass
- emergency blanket
- cotton gloves
- Carry case for all the above items (heavy-duty, water and puncture resistant, made of 600D polyester)
- WaterSavers Tote bag
- $20 VISA Gift Card
Leave a comment on this post and share a tip for protecting your home or car from the harsh winter weather.
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This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on December 20, 2013; I will draw a winner at random on December 21 and post their name after they confirm acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here.
Disclosure: Thanks to the International Car Wash Association (ICA) for providing a gift pack to give away, as well as a second gift pack for my personal use. Winter tips (in italics) were provided by the ICA. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.