Pennsylvania residents prepare their vehicles for the upcoming winter season

As many Americans have gotten a taste of the snowy winter weather than lies ahead, residents of Delaware County are no exception. With more snow expected over the holidays, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging drivers to take the proper precautions and winterize their vehicles for the upcoming inclement weather. Over 1,200 people were fatally injured in car accidents in 2012. Many of those car accidents were a result of poor driving conditions, car malfunctions and drivers who were distracted while driving in the snow.

Winterize your vehicle

As the winter storms become more frequent, it is important to make sure your vehicle is ready to take on the snow. Consider the following when winterizing your car for the season:

  • Get your car serviced by a professional. A reliable car technician can inspect your vehicle for any worn hoses, leaks or any other repairs that may be needed.
  • Check and replace your windshield wipers. Driving safely in harsh conditions is ultimately dependent on your visibility of the environment around you. Make sure that your windshield wipers work well and that you have plenty of windshield wiper fluid.
  • Inspect your tires to ensure they have good tread. While some Pennsylvania residents prefer snow tires with a deeper tread for added traction, others use their all-weather tires during the winter
  • Be sure to fill your tires to the proper air pressure level. The NHTSA has reported that driving on tires that are not properly inflated can increase your risk of accident by three times. Tires that are underinflated by 25 percent can cause the vehicle to overheat, resulting in poor handling and decreased tire life. Remember, that your tire pressure will decrease in cold weather. Keep a pressure gauge in your vehicle and check that your tire pressure is within manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Check you fluid levels, such as the antifreeze, oil, transmission fluid and coolant.
  • Make sure that the battery on your vehicle is fully charged, as cold weather can decrease the life of the battery.
  • Check your fog lights and headlights to ensure they are working properly.

Taking the time to perform a simple vehicle inspection may save you from an unpleasant road-side break-down in the cold weather.

Safe winter driving tips

Every year, many people seem to forget how to drive in winter weather. This becomes apparent by the number of vehicles off to the side of the road during the first major storm. Now is the best time to brush up on your winter driving skills. Remember the following before you hop onto the freeway during the next big blizzard:

  • Drive slow. Speed is the number one cause of car accidents in the winter. Leave your home giving yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination, and drive slowly.
  • Use your brakes properly. If you have an antilock braking system, be sure to apply continuous firm pressure. Other braking systems should be pumped gently in order to prevent sliding.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Never engage in any activities while driving, such as texting, programming your GPS or reading.
  • Stock your car with winter essentials, including a snow brush, car charger, first aid kit, blanket, jumper cables and other necessary items.
  • Don’t follow too closely as it will take you longer to stop.
  • Contact the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for current road conditions, accident information, and important weather forecasting information. You can receive this information by simply dialing 511 on your cellphone.
  • Knowing how to drive in harsh conditions is the best way to prevent any major accidents from occurring.

Contact an attorney

If you are involved in a car accident this season, be sure to contact a knowledgeable attorney that can help you file a claim. You may be eligible to receive compensation for injuries, property damage and time lost from work. Teaming up with a personal injury lawyer may increase your chances of receiving compensation.