Winter driving is not exactly fun. Once winter hits, you’ll find that your brief commutes turn into long, sluggish drives since you’ll have to carefully navigate slick roads that haven’t been plowed or de-iced yet. You’ll have to spend the beginning of your day scraping snow and frost off your windshield, and then heating up the interior of your car so that your hands don’t freeze the moment that they touch the steering wheel. And of course, you’ll have to prepare yourself for a variety of roadside emergencies that you won’t experience in any other season.
How can you prepare for these seasonal roadside emergencies?
Change Your Tires
Is your car sporting all-season tires? Or worse — summer tires? Then, you’ll want to replace them with a set of winter tires (sometimes called snow tires) as soon as possible. Winter tires have treads that are designed to work better on snowy and icy surfaces. They will be your best bet for maintaining good control of your vehicle on slick, slippery roads, so you can avoid getting into an accident. At the very least, winter tires can reduce your chances of your car getting stuck in the snow and forcing you to struggle your way out.
If your winter tires aren’t brand-new, you should check the tire pressure to see whether they need any adjusting. Poorly filled tires can increase your chances of accidents and roadside emergencies, like a blown-out tire.
Adjust Your Car’s Emergency Kit
You should always have an emergency kit stashed in the trunk or the backseat of your car.
The kit should have a bunch of essentials that can help you fix up your car on the side of the road. It should have a pair of jumper cables to jump-start your car’s battery after it dies. It should have tire sealant so that you can quickly patch up a punctured tire when you don’t have a spare to replace it. It should have snacks and bottles of water so that you can sit in the car and wait patiently for a tow truck to arrive without going hungry. You’ll want these essentials on hand when your fuel tank is empty in the middle of a barren stretch of highway.
You’ll want to add some items to your emergency kit before winter arrives so that you can handle certain seasonal problems:
- An ice scraper with a built-in snow brush for getting stubborn ice and snow off your car.
- A box of sand or kitty litter. Sprinkle this around your tires when you’re stuck in the snow to get more traction.
- A small or collapsible shovel to help you dig your tires out of snow in case your car gets snowed in.
- Accessories like gloves, hats, scarves and blankets to stay warm inside of the car.
- Hand warmers to help you handle the frigid cold, even with gloves on.
Set Up a Safety Net
You’ve signed up for roadside assistance to grant you coverage for various services, like towing and spare tire replacement. While your roadside assistance coverage can help you handle plenty of winter emergencies, it shouldn’t be the only safety net you set up for yourself. You should also build up an emergency fund if you don’t have one already.
An emergency fund is a convenient safety net that allows you to handle emergency expenses right away. You can rest assured that the fund can handle the portions of urgent expenses that your roadside assistance plan doesn’t cover. And if the plan doesn’t cover the expense at all, you can use your stash of savings to pay it off in a flash.
What if you don’t have enough in your emergency fund? Then, you could try to borrow funds through an online line of credit. Emergencies are the ideal times when to consider applying for lines of credit online. If you get approved for this borrowing option, you can request a withdrawal within your credit limit and use those funds to cover your urgent expense in a short amount of time. After resolving the emergency, you can start a straightforward repayment plan.
Don’t wait for winter to come and surprise you. Make these preparations now, and you’ll feel much safer when you’re driving through the snow.