As Californians keep a watchful eye for El Niño, the high intensity winter storm system predicted to hit Northern California in the next few months, AAA Northern California strongly urges motorists to get their vehicles in tip-top shape and refresh their winter driving skills. Preparing your vehicle is the first step in improving your chances of safe winter driving. There are many ways to winterize your car.
* Check the systems. Make sure your brakes, defroster, heater, exhaust system, and lights work properly. Change the blades in your wipers and check the level and condition of the antifreeze.
* Inspect the tires. Good tread allows the water to escape from under the tires and increases traction. Keep tires at proper pressure.
* Keep a full gas tank. In winter it may become necessary to change routes, idle for long periods of time, travel slowly, or turn around in a storm.
* Keep the windshield and windows clear. Have a snow brush and ice scraper in the vehicle.
* Carry an emergency kit and your AAA card. Items to include in the kit are a flashlight, first-aid kit, flares or emergency triangles, window washer fluid, tool kit, blanket or sleeping bag, gloves, paper towels, drinking water, and extra food. Also include abrasive material such as sand, salt or non-clumping cat litter, and a small shovel to free the vehicle if it becomes stuck. Include chains. Remember, chains must be installed on the “drive” wheels of the vehicle.
* Carry an extra car key. Many motorists lock themselves out of their vehicles when installing chains or attending to weather-related problems.
a moment. The rapid loss of visibility creates serious driving hazards.