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How to Stay Warm and Safe on the Road

Everyone knows that it’s risky to drive during a winter storm. Cold temperatures and black ice also present serious dangers. Before you travel, be sure to fully prepare yourself and your car for hazardous conditions. These quick tips can help you get started.

1. Install tires with snow treads and/or studs. They’ll improve your traction on slick surfaces. You can also prevent problems by ensuring your vehicle has enough antifreeze. When possible, store cars in a garage to keep them relatively warm and out of the weather.

2. If your fuel tank falls below half full, refill it soon. This will reduce harmful condensation in the tank. Extra gas also lets you run the heater for a long time if a breakdown occurs. Always bring a heavy winter coat in case the heating system fails.

3. Carry tools and supplies that you might need if your car gets stuck in a snowy or icy area. Place a compact snow shovel and a tow chain in the trunk. Most importantly, bring a product that boosts tire traction. Containers of ice melt or sand could come in handy.

4. If a breakdown or accident happens at night, it’s vital to have flares and a flashlight. Don’t forget to check the batteries monthly; make sure they haven’t expired or corroded.

5. Put a small survival kit in your automobile. Useful items include water, hand sanitizer and non-perishable snacks.

6. Leave extra time when you travel during or after a storm. Always thoroughly remove snow from your car’s roof, windows, lights and hood. Learn about local road conditions and try to avoid the most dangerous areas. Massachusetts residents can dial 511 for detailed information.

7. Slow down when you approach a bridge. It may remain slippery long after streets become free of snow and ice. Water is more likely to freeze on this surface. Snow might also stick to a bridge even as it melts on roads.

8. If you travel on a highway, don’t use cruise control during storms. You must be able to immediately adjust your speed as conditions change. Turn slowly when you merge into a different lane, and watch out for icy exit ramps.

9. Drive slower than the speed limit and give yourself more time to stop. Be sure to do this even if you have an all-wheel drive vehicle. Heavy autos build up more momentum, so they need extra braking time.

Remember that you can find a wide range of winter automotive supplies at Rocky’s Ace Hardware. We sell antifreeze, scrapers, shovels, ice melt, flashlights and other winter safety essentials. To find what you need, use our handy store locator today. You can also contact us online.