Skip to main content

Winter Vehicle Prep Checklist

At The Advocates we can help if you have been injured in a car accident, but we would all feel better if everyone stayed safe this winter. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one the best things you can do to avoid an accident before you even back out of your driveway is to make sure you have good winter vehicle prep.

Include Car Systems in Your Winter Car Prep

To avoid a crash, ensure all your vehicle’s systems are in order. The NHTSA recommends checking every system in your vehicle including the following.

  • Headlights: Even if you plan on driving only during the day, you may need your headlights if snow begins to fall so that you can see other vehicles, and so that other drivers can see you.
  • Battery: Cold weather can drain your battery and make it difficult to start your vehicle. Always ensure that you have a working battery and good connections so that your vehicle will always start.
  • Windshield Wipers: Windshield wipers can work over time during the winter months removing copious amounts of precipitation from your vehicle. Keeping them in good working order is the difference between driving safely and driving blind.
  • Tires: Good tire tread will help climb an icy hill while maintaining a semblance of control. If you are unsure whether or not your tires are sufficient for the season, have them evaluated at a repair shop.

Keep Your Car Stocked

  • Ice scraper and snow shovel: so you can clear your car of ice and snow
  • Jumper cables and flashlight: in case your battery dies in the cold
  • Cold weather gear and blankets: in case you are forced to leave your vehicle or you must turn off the heater to save fuel
  • Cell phone and charger: in case you need to call for help; it is also a good idea to program non-emergency telephone numbers into your phone
  • Water, food, and medicine: be prepared if you are traveling in lightly-populated areas since you may get stuck in the snow and not be able to get supplies
  • Gasoline can: in case you run out of gasoline

Check the Weather and Know Your Route

Before you leave on any trip, know what to expect. Is there a blizzard in the forecast or is it rain? Will there be heavy winds? Knowing as much as you can about the possible conditions on the road ahead can ensure you are prepared for any potential situation.

It is also a good idea to know your route in advance, and carry a paper map. You may not be able to rely on GPS and cell-phone navigation during a storm. You do not want to get lost without a plan.

It is also advisable to tell your family, co-workers, or roommates where you are going and when you plan to be back. If you slide off the road and no one can find you, it would be helpful to have someone send assistance after you do not arrive at your destination as planned.