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WINTER DRIVING IS EASY-PEASY! Short checklst.
Get a good shovel and a bag of cat sand and keep it in the car, along with fluorescent warning triangles. All the time during the cold season!
Old fashioned snow-chains work very well everywhere, anytime, but you must practice putting them on in daylight. There are a sort of plastic mats sold in pairs put them in front of the powered wheels so the car will run over them and pick up a little speed. Don’t forget to attach the strings to the car so they are dragged along until a good place to stop. They work for temporary stops, but the chains works all the time. Some noise, though. But macho!
The windscreen washer water should be of the winter type with defrost that stops the tank to freeze and burst. Bug removal additive you could forget for some time. Also, the defrost stops ice forming on the windscreen when driving. Keep the tank filled up – passing and meeting trucks will spray your windshield with dirty slush at the freezing point temperature – and lower if the city mix salt in the sand they possibly are spreading. (High-school chemical lesson!)
Listen to the weather reports. Silicone could prevent the doors to freeze shut, or that the rubber strips are torn lose when you open the door. Spray special oil in locks if you got such a car, heating the key with the cigarette lighter could make it possible to insert the key if the lock is full of ice. Don’t try to remove ice from windscreen by running the windscreen wipers – they get brittle in cold and are torn and getting useless.
If snowing you could use them, while driving, make sure that they works good, Windscreen could be “oiled” with chemicals sold at gas stations that prevents ice to stick and makes the water removal easier.
Try to park the car without using the parking brake – on some cars they freeze stuck in the brake position, making driving impossible! Bricks or such could keep the car from rolling. Or blocks of compressed snow.
Scrape off ALL snow and ice from all the windows, the headlights and taillights, and the number plates. Snow left on the roof will slide down in front of the windscreen when you brake.
If stuck, by pushing the accelerator and letting go, repeatedly, you could put the car in a sort of rocking motion, that could be enough to get it unstuck. Sand must be under BOTH wheels, otherwise one wheel will spin and the other won’t rotate.
Pack a bag, keep it inside your front door and bring it every trip – warm outdoor clothes, hiking boots, exchange socks and T-shirt, bottles of water, biscuits, 2 good flashlamps, working cigarette lighter, a small radio and don’t forget your cell-phone. Charged! Phone number to towing service. If you’ll get stuck in the snow, so have thousands of others, so help could delay for many hours. Toilet paper! The trip could take all day. Don’t forget medicine if you are on it. You might have to stay over night away from home! Check the condition of the car battery – water, acid – charge if necessary. Buy new one it is on its last legs. Check radiator water – it should be filled up. In severe cold, anti-freeze is a must.
If you get stuck, make sure that the exhausts won’t enter the cabin!!! IMPORTANT! Carbon monoxide poisoning sneaks up on you and is of course, deadly. Snow can plug the pipe. Also, the radiator water can get to boil if you run the engine for a time, the car standing still. A can of extra gas could come handy – you might have to make detours, and a blizzard isn’t a good time to visit the gas station – if not for emergency shelter.
If stuck, try to get some people to help you to get the car off the runway, so you won’t block the road for others, among them snowplows. police and paramedics. Don’t forget to put off the lights so the battery won’t be drained.
Don’t forget the dangers of mad drivers, who drive too fast to avoid getting stuck, those who don’t believe in Isaac Newton, and jack-knifing trailer trucks. Of course, follow policemen’s instructions, and deputies.
Don’t you wish you’d bought a Hummer? 🙂
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