HUNTSVILLE, Ala., (Jan. 29, 2010) – With predictions of a winter mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain for much of northern Alabama today and into Saturday, drivers might find navigating area roadways a little bit more challenging.
The Allstate Insurance Company is here to help, offering drivers the following safety tips for driving in extreme winter weather conditions:
1. Reduce your speed
Snow and ice greatly increase the stopping distance for all vehicles. Even four-wheel drive vehicles need to adjust to hazardous road conditions. Not knowing when you are about to encounter black ice, the best driving advice to those that must be on the road is, slow down.
2. Maintain your car and check that the:
q Tires don't show excessive signs of wear
q Battery is fully charged
q Wipers are working and windshield fluid is full
q Cooling system is in good working condition
3. Prepare for the unexpected and carry:
q A flashlight
q Jumper cables
q First-aid kit
q A shovel
q A cellular telephone
Additionally, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that the following steps be taken when a vehicle stalls:
q Stay with the car
q Put a bright marker on the antenna or in the windows
q Clear the exhaust pipe, if you can run your car
q Run your car just long enough to remove the chill
In addition to driving carefully in winter driving conditions, one more thing we need to double check is to make sure out vehicle is ready for the cold weather.
"The cold winter months can be very hard on your automobile," says Allstate Spokesman John Heid. "If you notice any problems with your automobile, have your mechanic take a look at it now so that you do not end up stranded on a cold winter day."
The following tips from Allstate Insurance Company will help to prepare your automobile for the cold weather:
· Make sure that if your engine is experiencing hard starts, stalling or having other problems that you get it repaired.
· Windshield wiper blades that are not making full contact with the window or that are dried out should be replaced. Also make sure to keep extra washer fluid and an ice scraper in your car.
· Keep a cold weather safety kit in your car that includes gloves, boots, blankets, flares, water and a flashlight.
· Examine your tires for tread life and uneven wearing. Also make sure tires are properly inflated, tires lose a pound of pressure for every 10 degrees the temperature drops.
· Make sure the heater and defroster are properly working to ensure passenger comfort and driver visibility.
· The cooling system should be flushed every two years with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. Have the level, condition and concentration of the antifreeze mixture checked periodically.
· Have your mechanic check your battery fluid levels, battery posts and cable connectors. Bad connections can keep your car from starting.
· Brakes should be checked as recommended, but if you are having trouble such as pulsations, noises or longer stopping distances, get a professional to look at it right away.
· Make sure all lights and bulbs are in working order and replace any burned-out bulbs.
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