Check tire tread and inflation pressure.
Cold weather will cause the air pressure to drop in your tires, so now is the perfect time to re-inflate to proper levels. Also check the tread to ensure you will have maximum grip on the road.
Check your battery and all fluid levels.
One of the worst feelings known to a driver is when you try to start your vehicle in the middle of a snowstorm and the battery has died. Cold weather is extremely tough on a battery, so it is very important that you have your battery tested for voltage and replaced, if needed, before the season.
Any driver can also relate to the frustration of a grimy windshield caused by salt and dirt that sprays up during winter driving. Make sure that your windshield wipers are in good shape, and that you have a full supply of windshield wiper fluid which will withstand freezing temperatures.
Stock a mini-survival kit.
Although it is hard to imagine getting stranded in a populated area of the country, each year there are news stories of drivers who are stuck in the snow for hours or more. To stay safe rather than sorry, always have the following in your vehicle: blanket, bottle of water, flashlight, car phone charger, snow scraper/shovel, jumper cables and sand/kitty litter.
Clear your car off right or expect a fine!
Everyone has seen it: a driver cruising down the road with huge piles of snow or sheets of ice atop their vehicle. Inevitably, it is only a matter of time before the ice and snow fly off into traffic. Many drivers take a very quick approach to clearing their vehicle, but that laziness can be a huge risk to themselves, other drivers and even their bank account.
Since 2006, Pennsylvania has fined all drivers $200 - $1,000 for failing to clear snow or ice from their vehicle if that snow or ice causes a serious injury. (75 Pa. C.S. 3720)
Across the river, the law is event stricter. In New Jersey, a motorist must make a reasonable effort to clear all areas of ice and snow from their vehicle. If a police officer observes a vehicle that has failed to clear ice or snow they can write a ticket with a fine of up to $75. If that snow or ice comes loose and causes an injury or property damage, the fine can increase up to $1,000. (NJ Stat. 39:4-77.1)
Stay safe and avoid the risks and fines that come with unsafe winter driving. Small preparations make all the difference between a safe, enjoyable ride and a dangerous and costly trip.