In part two of our Car Safety Month series, we will touch on additional winter maintenance tips and help you prepare, or update, your emergency car kit for the unexpected emergencies. By planning ahead and taking extra precautions now, you can help keep yourself, your passengers, and fellow road users safe. 

Check the brakes

Brakes can play a significant role in keeping you safe on the road. However, they are also subject to significant wear and tear over the years. It is imperative to check on your brakes annually to ensure the drums, rotors, and linings are all working properly.

There are several things to look for when checking brakes, including:

  • The thickness of the brake pads
  • The level of brake fluid
  • The condition of the brake hoses
  • The condition of the brake discs or drums

If any of these parts are not in good condition, it is important to have them replaced before driving. Properly functioning brake systems help ensure safe vehicle control and operation under winter driving conditions. 

Enhance visibility with lights and wipers

With fewer hours of daylight and more extreme weather conditions in the fall and winter, visibility while driving can be significantly impaired. In poor visibility, whether due to rain, snow, fog, or dust, it is essential that your car’s lights and wipers are in good working order. 

Your car’s lights and wipers are two important safety features that help you see and be seen while on the road. But over time, they can become dirty and worn, which can reduce their effectiveness. 

Improve visibility and minimize the risk of a collision with properly functioning lights and wipers:

  • Check the condition of the headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals – make sure they are aligned and free of debris 
  • Make sure the bulbs are working and the lenses are clean – replace any lights that are dimming or not functioning properly
  • Clean wipers to remove any dirt or debris – if the wipers are worn, replace them with new once
  • Regularly clean your windshield and windows

Your car’s headlights should be turned on whenever you are driving, day or night. Use your low-beam headlights when driving in fog or other poor visibility conditions. You should also use your headlights when driving on unlit roads, even if it is daytime. In bad weather, make sure your wipers are turned on and working properly and use your windshield washer fluid to help keep your windshield clean and clear.

Check the HVAC system

The heating, ventilation, and cooling systems in a car are a critical part of the vehicle’s safety system. The HVAC system provides ventilation and temperature control within the car and can also help to regulate the car’s humidity levels. This can help to prevent driver fatigue, as well as reduce the risk of accidents in extreme weather conditions.  The HVAC system also helps to protect the passengers from harmful fumes and carbon monoxide buildup. 

Ensuring that your HVAC system is running properly is critical to maintaining a safe and comfortable vehicle. A few things to keep in mind when checking your HVAC system:

  • The blower motor should be free of debris and dust.
  • The evaporator coils should be clean and free of ice.
  • The condenser coils should be free of dirt and debris.
  • The air filter should be clean and free of dirt and dust.

It is important to have your HVAC system checked regularly by a qualified technician to ensure that it is in good working order. This is especially important if you live in an area with extreme temperatures, as your HVAC system will have to work harder to keep the cabin comfortable

Prepare an emergency car kit

An emergency care kit is a vital part of any car safety plan. A well-stocked emergency care kit can help you deal with minor accidents and injuries, and it can also help you survive if you’re stranded in your car in a remote location.

The kit should be equipped with everything you need to take care of yourself and your passengers for an extended period of time. A basic emergency care kit should include essential items such as:

  • A first-aid kit
  • A flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • A whistle
  • Water bottles
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Blankets
  • A portable phone charger
  • A flare or reflector
  • A set of jumper cables
  • A map of the area
  • A bag of sand or cat litter (for traction)

By having these items on hand, you can help ensure your safety and the safety of others. No one knows when an emergency will happen, so it’s better to be prepared than caught off guard. 

Is Your Vehicle Ready?

Winter will magnify any existing problems in your vehicle, so a thorough inspection now, either by yourself or a trusted mechanic, can go a long way in protecting you and your loved ones when the slick winter driving conditions arrive. It is also important to be familiar with your vehicle’s capabilities, such as traction control and anti-lock braking system. 

It is also important to ensure that you are aware and prepared for the road conditions any time you drive. Keep yourself up-to-date on any extreme weather warnings and drive appropriately for the conditions. If you absolutely must travel in bad conditions, take your time, have a plan, and keep caution at the forefront of everything. 

By ensuring that your car is functioning properly, you not only help yourself, but you can help others by ensuring you are visible while on the road. Preventative maintenance and comfort with your vehicle can make a big difference in the event of a winter accident. 

Contact the Respected Personal Injury Lawyers at Campbell Litigation in Kitchener-Waterloo

Taking proactive steps to ensure your safety on the road is a priority not only in the winter, but year round. However, accidents can still happen. The personal injury lawyers at Campbell Litigation understand the stress and confusion someone may face after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Our team works with clients by managing your claim and ensuring we obtain maximum compensation, so that you can focus on making a healthy recovery. Contact us online or call us at 519-886-1204 to learn how we can assist you.