With thoughts of midterms and Thanksgiving break on the forefront, it is painful to consider the winter weather looming a few weeks in the future. The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting the 2011-12 winter to have “unusually cold and stormy weather.” It’s not uncommon for inclement weather or mechanical problems to land a driver on the roadside, but planning for a car emergency now can save time and money, and avoid potentially hazardous situations.
According to Mequon police officer Steve Bzdusek, flat tires and engine trouble are the top reasons he finds cars stalled along the roadside. He recommends drivers keep tow company information and the non-emergency police department number on hand.
“The time and place you are stalled has a lot to do with your course of action,” Bzdusek said. “Call the police non-emergency number immediately if the vehicle is obstructing traffic. This is also a safety measure if you are stalled in a dark or secluded area.”
Doing winter vehicle maintenance and preparation now can reduce the risk of stalling. In case of a stall, having select emergency items in the car trunk (Trunk Emergency Kit) helps keep stalled drivers safe until help arrives. Because many of these items are affordable and readily available, anyone can make an emergency kit on any budget.
Tips for Winter Safety Under $5
Using an upside-down penny, tire tread should reach Lincoln’s head. Keep tires filled at recommended pressure.
Replace old wipers with all-weather wipers that won’t freeze. A $5 upgrade is worth the ability to see in a snowstorm.
Buy a spare gallon of non-freeze wiper fluid.
Pour Iso-Heet in your tank to keep gas lines from freezing. Use the yellow or red bottle for cars; red only for diesel.
During your next oil change or tune-up, have the battery checked for charge strength and corrosion.