(WSPA) – January and February are the coldest months in the Carolinas. During this time of year, winter weather can be just around the corner.
AAA said 49 million cars are on the road in the Carolinas every day whatever the weather may be.
7NEWS wanted to take a look at what things you need to do to make sure your travels are safe during the winter season.
It’s easy to let regularly scheduled car malignance fall behind during the year and that can be unsafe. However, it is especially important to pay attention to your car during the winter months.
There are some things you can do right now to make travel safer and easier for you and your family.
During the winter months, taking care of your car starts under the hood, which includes the tires, and ends at the trunk.
All the things that can make your car safer in winter can happen before winter weather moves in.
Check your car’s battery
Cold weather can drain your car’s battery. A weaker battery can leave you stranded during the winter.
South Carolina Trooper Mitch Ridgeway said during winter weather accidents, he sees a common cause, “the biggest mistake people make in winter weather, especially this time of year is they just don’t slow down.”
Trooper Ridgeway said during winter weather, you and your car have to respond to the road conditions.
“If the speed limit on the interstate is 65 and you must travel the interstate let’s say in snowy or icy weather, I’m going to reduce my speed by 15 or 20 miles per hour and I’m also going to increase my following distance. That way if I do have to slow down, I’m not going to lose control and slide into another vehicle that’s close to me.”
Check your tires
You want to check pressure and tread. That’s because your tire is what gives you traction.
The cold temperatures can cause the pressure to drop in your tires and under-inflation is one of the leading causes of tire failure.
If tire pressure is too low increased friction can cause the tires to overheat, which can lead to premature wear, tread separation, and blowouts.
Even with good tire tread, driving can be difficult. So, make sure to check your tire tread before you start your trip.
You need good tread for the type of slick roads that we see during winter. Tire treads provide your tires with the ability to grip the road, give you traction, and help your vehicle accelerate smoothly and brake.
Check your windshield wipers and wiper fluid
“Check your fluids-that’s very important. Make sure your heat in your vehicle is working. Make sure you defrost is working. If it’s really cold I would also suggest people dress warmly. You never know what could happen on the roadway,” according to Trooper Ridgeway.
If you do get stuck it’s important to have an emergency kit in your car.
Put in blankets, batteries, a flashlight, jumper cables, a safety vest and emergency triangles if you have to get out of the vehicle.
Trooper Ridgeway said it’s a sensible way to stay safe.
“You could be minding your own business and somebody else could lose control in winter weather conditions and strike you and now you’re involved in a collision. You may be stranded on the side of the road, who knows, for a couple of hours. So definitely dress warmly.”
By following these simple tips, you can minimize dangers on winter roads.
Trooper Ridgeway offers this bit of advice.
“I normally tell folks if we do experience a winter weather storm if at all possible, just stay home. Unless it’s absolutely necessary and there’s an emergency and you need to travel the roads, you know just stay home.”
If you have questions about preparing your car for winter weather, AAA of the Carolinas offers a winter weather car checklist on their website.