Car Tips for Winter Weather

Sunday, February 1st, South Bend got blanketed with over a foot and half of fresh snow. As a born'n'raised Midwesterner, I have dealt with this kind of weather my entire (albeit short-lived) driving career, and have learned to handle it and care for my car accordingly. In fact, this summer when I went to lease a car (see that sexy beauty pictured above), the salesman asked me if I "Wanted any special featureslike a certain color or seat material type?"

I told him that I didn't care if it was purple, had no heating, radio, or air conditioning—as long as it had four-wheel drive, I would take it. 

While I wouldn't say I'm a winter driving pro, I have a father and family members who have lovingly (loudly) and kindly (impatiently) helped me over the years learn how to be a better winter driver and not end up in a ditch next to a cornfield. 

So collegiettes, some things to think about:

1.  No Cop, No Stop

These views do not represent those of Her Campus or its writers or affliliates in any way. However, HINT: When streets are icy, it is difficult to slow to a stop and get traction to continue driving without the car fishtailing. It would be much easier, should there be no oncoming traffic, to perhaps just continue driving at a slow pace....

2.  Kitty Litter—it's not just for cats!

In fact, kitty litter provides the traction necessary for tires to grip the pavement should your car be stuck in snow or ice. Keep a 20 lb. bag in your car just in case. 

3.  Car batteries die in the cold

No idea why, but when temperatures dip below freezing, you should go start your car and turn the engine over at least once during the day. Don't let your car just sit there under two feet of snow for a month. It's a bigger pain in the a** to find jumper cables or a tow-truck come springtime than it is to run outside and start your car once a day.

4.  Low-riders and Sandbags *Cue "Low Rider" by War*

If your car is in the style of "sedan" i.e., rides low to the ground, this one is for you: Add sandbags to the trunk of your car to give it a little bit more weight. When roads are icy, the heft will make your back-end less likely to sway back and forth coming from a stopped position. You could even stick a dead body in the trunk! You know, if you're into that sort of thing.

5.  Get out, and scrape your d*** windshield

If there is a ton of snow on your windshield, it's not a great idea to turn your wipers on and have them do all the work. Using wipers to get snow off will damage or break their motor. Instead, invest in an ice scraper/brush and get out of the car and do it yourself. Also, scrap off your ENTIRE windshield... a tiny little peep-hole doesn't count and is really unsafe!

6.  Fill up your tank

Your gas line can freeze if it's not full. Something about the water vapor left in there turning it ice, I don't know the specifics, all I know is that it can and DOES happen, and it can be expensive to fix. So do yourself a favor and don't let yourself drift below half a tank. Gas is cheap right now, no excuses. 

7.  Check your tires

Cold air slows down air molecules, making them compress (vice versa, hot air makes molecules speed up and expand—yay 5th grade science class!). Your tires will natuarally deflate in the winter. Check your tire pressure regularly and don't be the girl I saw in the visitor's lot the other day driving with flat tires. 

Finally, from personal experience: Never trust a friend to get out and scape off the windshield and the hood of your car. You'll never know what they'll write on the hood of it.


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