Get Your Vehicle Ready Before Winter Storms
When the Oklahoma weather begins to turn cold, Oklahomans need to prepare for winter weather. Preparing involves more than going to the grocery store for bread, milk and eggs. Drivers across Oklahoma need to make sure their vehicle is in good condition, and it is a good idea to prepare an emergency kit for your vehicle, too, said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Extension housing and consumer specialist.
“If you’ve lived in Oklahoma for even a short amount of time, you know the weather can change quickly. Being organized and prepared ahead of a storm is a much better plan than waiting until there’s half an inch of ice covering every outdoor surface,” Peek said. “Making sure your car or truck is in tiptop shape will help ensure you’re able to make it from point A to point B as easily as possible.”
Consider putting together a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. Some items to include are a windshield scraper, first aid kit, flashlight, water, some nonperishable snack foods, blankets and jumper cables. You also may want to keep a small bag in the car containing an extra hat, socks and gloves or mittens. Most of these items can fit into a small plastic container that will keep them organized and handy in the event they are needed. If you get to your car and it’s covered with snow and ice, remove it before driving.
“Be sure to clear off your entire windshield, side windows and back windshield. Scraping a spot the size of a salad plate to see through isn’t safe for you or others on the road,” she said. “Having a clear view through the windshield is imperative.”
When the weather is cold and your windshield is covered with frost, snow or ice, it’s not the ideal time to discover your windshield wipers do not work. The wipers can be replaced with little expense and will make a big difference when driving on the road. Check the windshield wiper fluid as well. If it needs topped off, use a wiper fluid that contains deicer. Also, check the vehicle’s coolant fluid levels. Coolant is commonly called antifreeze. It helps cars run properly in colder temperatures.
Consider a tune up, if needed, which involves a professional checking the car’s overall safety.
Peek said tire traction is essential, but especially on slick winter roads, so make sure tires have adequate tread.
“Typically, Oklahoma winters are somewhat mild in comparison to other parts of the country, but we all know how quickly storms can move in and make travel dangerous,” Peek said. “Being prepared can certainly make things easier in the event of a big storm.”