With snow already falling in Anchorage, Alaska, we all need to begin preparing for winter driving if precautions have not already been taken.
As an experienced auto accident injury attorney in Anchorage, I see many injuries that could have been prevented had the drivers taken the necessary steps to prepare for snow, ice, and freezing rain.
To best prepare your vehicle for an Anchorage winter, here are seven things to check before braving the snow and ice, recommended by MSN Autos:
- Winter tires: Install a set of four winter tires on your vehicle. Although all-wheel drive improves traction for acceleration, it doesn’t help you stop or steer if you’re riding on all-season tires in 14° F weather. All-season tires actually begin to lose effectiveness around 44° F, so prepare for Alaska’s sub-zero temperatures with the right set of wheels.
- Windshield wipers and snow scrapers: You can’t avoid what you can’t see, so make sure your wipers and blades are ready to handle ice and snow. Also, be sure you have a heavy-duty ice/snow scraper in your vehicle for clearing off the windshield and windows before you drive.
- Oils and fluids: There’s no better time to have your oil changed than at the beginning of winter. Oil helps lubricate the engine, while dirty oil hinders cold-weather starts. Also check coolant levels to keep your engine from seizing up in cold weather.
- Jumper cables or boost pack: Even if your battery load-tested and checked for winter, it can still quit at any time. Jumper cables are the old reliable standby, but a fully charged booster pack means you won’t have to sit in the cold waiting for another driver to come along for the jump. This comes in especially handy if you become stranded on a back road where other drivers may not pass for hours, or even days.
- Brakes: If you need winter tires to stop effectively in snow and ice, they have to be coupled with brakes in good working condition. Get your brakes checked by a trusted mechanic to ensure they are not worn or compromised.
- Emergency kit: Stuck in snowy wood or ditch with no cellphone service? That’s where an emergency kit could save your life. We recommend a well-stocked kit, but be sure to at least keep a first-aid kit, throw blankets, and bottled water in the trunk.
- Winter driving course: Most accident injuries we see at our Anchorage office aren’t caused by faulty vehicle mechanics. In reality, driver error is the number one cause of accidents, so preparing yourself for snow and ice is the best way to combat winter car crashes. Even if you’ve survived over a dozen Alaskan winters without a scratch, you can still benefit from a course in emergency winter driving.
Whether you drive a small car or a four-wheel drive pickup, winter driving threats strike at the most inopportune moments. The auto accident injury attorneys at Kelley & Canterbury LLC hope you take the time to prepare yourself for less-than-desirable driving conditions.
If you have already been unfortunate enough to have been injured in a winter auto accident, be sure to reach out to an experienced Anchorage injury attorney right away.