As the nor’ easter brings freezing temperatures and plummets deliver drivers into dangerous driving conditions, it is a reminder of these winter tips and misbeliefs for drivers to start winterizing their vehicles. For all the drivers in the northern US and Canada here are five tips to prepare your vehicle, and you, for safety in snow and ice. These apply to rideshare vehicles as well as a minivan or cargo vans used for parcel delivery.
Like the Farmers Insurance ad, we know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two. This is Rogers Pass in British Columbia, Canada. I made this run from Ontario with lighting fixtures that were needed in a hurry. Over thirty hours of driving time on winter roads. What a great memory.
Five Tips for vehicle safety
1. Winter Tire Rotation & Tire Pressure
Now is the time to rotate “All Season” tires with “Winter” tread tires. Taking a risk and getting stuck, or worse, causing an accident, is an expensive alternative to planning maintenance in advance. Buy heavy use or truck tires when possible, especially if you carry over 500 lbs. of weight regularly.
Temperature changes impact tire pressure. You will get a more accurate pressure if you measure after the tires are heated from driving. Be sure to repeatedly clear heavy wet snow from roof and wheel wells. The extra weight costs fuel to transport.
2. Test the Battery
Batteries notoriously fail in cold weather. The loss of time and the unexpected cost is not fun. Stop by most any auto parts store and they will test the battery for free.
3. Replace cracked windshield and wiper blades
The temperature change can worsen a windshield crack the moment you turn on hot air against the cold glass. Any cracks extensive enough to impair the driver’s view directly in front is going to get the attention of the safety police. Make sure to schedule windshield repair, along with all maintenance, in off-hours or weekends.
Not being able to see traffic ahead due to poor wiper clearance is dangerous. Buy wiper blades that reduce ice adhering to them and causing lower visibility.
4. Inspect headlights, fog and brake lights
The shorter days mean drivers need all their lights functioning for more hours. A simple change-this-bulb in the past is now more complex due to white light variations in replacement bulbs. Take the extra time to replace right and left bulbs or stand the chance of doing the same procedure soon on the opposite side.
5. Prepare your tools
When the windshield is iced over is not the time to think, now where is that scraper. For delivery drivers, the saying goes that one hour of preparation saves days of turmoil. See below a list of must and should-haves in your vehicle to keep you running and producing a profit.
Misbeliefs About Winter Driving
Misbelief #1 Letting the vehicle idle to warm up before driving
In days gone by, warming up the gasoline engine was considered necessary before driving. In the age of electronics, the engine functions without being heated. However, the first time I remote started my vehicle in a blizzard and the windshield and seats were warm by the time I got in, I was quite happy.
Misbelief #2 Four-wheel drive is safer on slippery roads
Having four wheels all on ice does not prevent sliding dangerously. Having four wheels tracking in deep snow gives four points of traction. If one wheel senses loss of traction, the remaining compensate. When all the wheels sense loss of traction there is loss of control. Drive according to road conditions. Leave extra space for stopping. Be courteous to yielding vehicles. Protect your driver’s license from demerit points and minimize your insurance expenses.
In Case You Didn’t Think of It
Supplies in case of being stuck in snow or stalled traffic
You know things could go poorly when you discover you are on a road that was closed an hour ago due to white-out conditions. Or, you may be on an interstate still far from home and traffic is stopped and the snow is falling fast. That’s when planning comes to the rescue and you pat yourself on the back for having all these important supplies.
- Roadside Assistance Plan
- Electrical & electronics: Backup charger for phone, booster cables, travel hairdryer
- Water, energy bars
- Extra key, Lock De-icer spray or liquid
- Gloves, tuque, boots, extra socks, poncho
- Chain or long ratchet strap, Child snow shovel
- Safety Kit, First Aid Kit, Tool Kit
- Bag of rocks for weight in the trunk and much-needed traction under a wheel in deep snow
Find more gadgets for drivers here. Thanks for reading the winter tips and misbeliefs for drivers.
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Disclaimer: Rapidgo Driver/James Wm Frank. I only recommend products and services that will improve the delivery driver’s mission of success. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases through affiliate links on this site.