Everything You Need to Know About Winter Car Safety: Driving, Maintenance, and Insurance
The new year is upon us. With it comes the excitement of a fresh start… and, here in the Midwest, the promise of even more snow and ice. Our roads can quickly turn dangerous when temperatures drop, but most of us don’t have the option to simply stay home.
Here’s everything you need to know to mitigate the risks of a winter car problem!
Winter Car Maintenance
Stay up to date on routine care
First things first: Make sure you keep up on regular car maintenance all year round. Here are a few go-to tips to get started:
- Read your owner’s manual.
- Do your own inspections.
- Check and change your oil regularly.
- Keep tabs on your battery performance.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades at the first signs of streaking.
- Get your tires rotated and alignment checked.
- Don’t skip scheduled services.
For more comprehensive information on routine car maintenance, check out our full article here.
Prepare for winter-specific needs
Staying on top of basic maintenance will get you most of the way there — but you’ll also want to do a few winter-specific tasks to keep your car functioning at its best.
- Keep your lights in top condition.
- Check coolant levels regularly.
- Don’t let your gas tank run empty.
- Maintain recommended tire pressure.
- Check your defrost system.
- Keep an emergency supply kit in your car.
You can find more details on all of these tips in our articles on winter car care and preparing for cold-weather driving!
Safe Winter Driving
Adjust your driving style for the conditions at hand
Even the most skilled, experienced drivers can run into problems during winter. When in doubt, take it slow and steady — and keep this advice in mind:
- Watch for tire spray from other vehicles.
- Look closely for black ice.
- Avoid weaving in and out of traffic.
- Keep your steering wheel as straight as possible and make gentle turns.
- Coast to a stop instead of breaking quickly.
- Don’t let four-wheel drive make you feel invincible.
- Only use cruise control on dry pavement.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
For more information on these tips, check our Midwest winter driving article written by our president, Jon Oaks.
Stay focused while driving in the dark
Around 40% of all collisions occur during darkness. It’s difficult when the sun sets before most of us even finish our work days — but you can follow a few simple suggestions to drive safely at night:
- Make sure your headlights are properly aimed.
- Keep your windows extra clean.
- Drive more defensively than normal.
- Give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
- Dim your dashboard lights.
- Take breaks during any long trips.
Check out our full-length article on staying safe while driving after dark for more details.
Winter Auto Insurance
Get familiar with car insurance lingo
In case something does go wrong this season, it’s a good idea to be prepared to handle the insurance side of things. Knowing what to expect going in will lift some worry off your shoulders!
Take a look at our full article on car insurance terms everyone should know for a place to get started on the industry jargon. This way you’ll be more prepared to answer questions — and ask your own — if the need arises.
Here are a few common ones:
- Liability Insurance: Type of insurance paid when the insured is legally responsible for damages or bodily injury.
- Collision Coverage: Pays to repair or replace your vehicle if you are in a collision and no one else is at fault.
- Comprehensive Coverage: Applies to damages caused by something other than a collision. These damages could include fire, theft, flood, falling tree limbs or branches, and so on.
Prepare for the possibility of needing to file a claim
If you do reach the point of needing to file a claim, our guide to make insurance claims as stress-free as possible will help you keep everything in order. Here are the top tips:
- Know what you need from the beginning.
- Call your provider right away.
- Review your claim — and take care to communicate clearly.
Lindow Insurance is here for you!
Our hometown agents know just how tricky winter driving and car care can be in the Midwest. We’ve experienced the reality of snowy roads, hidden ice, and unexpected claims firsthand — and we’re here to keep your family protected all season long.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you have about your auto insurance coverage.