Car Safety for Cold Weather

Winter brings about many life changes, so it is important to adjust in order to stay safe.

Valerie Rasmussen

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Winter often brings massive changes: lower temperatures, snow, sleet and ice. There are many changes that need to be made in order to be prepared for the weather. One may purchase a new coat, gloves, hat or blankets to battle the cold. However, one of the most important changes that should be done is preparing vehicles for the season ahead. Dangerous road conditions and dropping temperatures make it a necessity to prepare.

1. Windshield Wiper Fluid

One of the most notable winter changes is a massive change in temperature. This means that it is imperative for one to change their regular windshield wiper fluid to an anti-freeze. During the spring and summer, it is common for people to use the typically blue colored solution; however, one must switch to the winter solution as it can handle much lower temperatures. If winter solvent is not introduced, it is likely that the windshield wiper fluid will freeze.

2. Snow Brush and Ice Scraper

Due to the cold weather, snow and ice are rather common. It is important to keep both a snow brush and an ice scraper in the vehicle. The brush is beneficial in order to quickly and easily remove snow from the car. The scraper is also a good tool to have so that it is easy to get rid of the ice build up in order to see clearly through the glass. While taking ice and snow off, it is helpful to turn the car’s defrosters on to speed up the removal process.

“It’s very important to have one in your car,” junior Zoe Johnson said. “When there is snow and ice, you can’t always rely on your wipers for that.”

3. Gas Tank

Many people allow their cars to run until they are almost out of gas before filling up. During the winter, it is important to keep all vehicles around half a tank full and up. Kal Tire, a large truck tire company, explains that this is necessary, as without the gas in the tank, condensation can form and can freeze in cold weather. Should that happen, it can lead to ice in the fuel lines and stop the car from starting altogether. The best way to minimize this risk is to keep the gas tank above half at all times.

4. Exhaust Pipe

This is oftentimes forgotten about, but it could be very dangerous if the exhaust pipe is not free from any blockage. Snowfall can easily get inside of the pipe and stop any gas from getting through. If it can not escape through there, it is forced to reroute back into the car. This can be extremely dangerous as it can lead to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning of the occupant.

5. Emergency Kit

While some may feel that it may simply be taking up space, having a first-aid kit is a great idea in case one should get in an accident. According to “Safe Winter Roads,” every year around 900 people are killed and 76,000 injured in car crashes during snow and sleet conditions. Useful items to keep in a kit in case of an accident include: blankets, water, cat litter, jumper cables, small shovel and an extra gallon of windshield wiper solvent.


Overall, it is necessary for one to prepare not only themselves, but their vehicles as well in order to stay safe on the road in the potentially dangerous weather.