Winter has come early. Here’s how you can survive the snowpocalypse.
On Monday, an Arctic blast struck much of North America and brought freezing temperatures along with it. Those freezing temperatures pushed out a warmer air mass and caused a lot of snow as well. For anyone living in the Midwest or Eastern states, this means snow. And cold. But mostly snow.
It’s also coming unseasonably early for November. We’re used to having a bit of snow at this time of year, but we’re experiencing the kind of winter that normally doesn’t start until January.
The surprise arrival of winter means that many drivers have been caught unprepared. Here’s what you should do to get caught up to the weather as quickly as possible.
First, check your fluids. All of them. If you need an oil change, get one. Washer fluid and/or antifreeze should be topped up. If the roads aren’t already covered in slushy mud they’ll be covered in dirt and salt shortly, so you’ll need something to get that mess off of your windshield.
Make sure you’ve got an emergency kit packed in your trunk just in case you get stuck. That should include some warm clothes and/or a blanket, a flashlight, flares, a first-aid kit, and an extra cellphone charger.
Perhaps the most important addition to winterize your car is winter tires. Really, winter tires should have been installed as soon as temperatures dropped below 44 degrees F (or 7 degrees C) as winter tires are made with a different type of rubber that allows them to retain traction in lower temperatures. That said, they also provide far better traction on snow and ice, so if you don’t have winter tires on now, do it soon.
But even with winter tires on, you’ve still got less grip than you do in the summer. Drive slow and carefully to avoid losing control and winding up in a ditch.
Also, never set off before removing ice and snow from your car. It might be tempting to start driving with a layer of snow on your roof with the expectation that it will just come off with the wind, but having a big clump of snow or ice flying off your room on the highway can be extremely dangerous to other drivers. Always brush off your car before leaving.
Perhaps the best idea to survive winter driving is to just wait. Plows will clear the roads and the snow will end eventually, so wait for better driving conditions before setting off.