Winter Safety Saves Money AND Lives – Part 2
As we learned in our first post on safe winter driving, there are a lot of actions you can take to keep yourself, your family and your fellow drivers safe in poor driving conditions. Safe driving helps save money by lowering your overall vehicle operating costs, and that just makes good financial sense.
When you have had trouble with your credit in the past, you may have problems securing auto financing. Auto Loan Solutions can help with financing, but one of the keys to responsible vehicle ownership is making sure your car loan stays affordable in every season. The following safety gear recommendations assume that you have already had your vehicle inspected for winter safety, including a check of your car’s fluid levels and battery life. If you haven’t already done so, there is no time like the present!
Your insurance premium, fuel costs and maintenance expenses will all affect the affordability of your vehicle. However, in this article, we’re going to have to tell you to spend some of the money we have helped you save on some safety equipment you just can’t live without. Ultimately, safety equipment will protect your vehicle and its occupants from harm, and you just can’t put a price on that.
Buy Winter Tires
The results are in and the evidence is clear: winter tires save lives. Since the Province of Quebec mandated the use of winter tires, there has been a decrease in fatal road accidents in the winter months. The results are impressive enough to prompt the government in Ontario to consider similar legislation in our province. Winter tires reduce stopping times in slick conditions, a feature that will prove invaluable when the sea of brake lights ahead of you becomes apparent.
While it’s true that you will have the added expense of an extra set of tires and rims to consider, it doesn’t really double your tire budget. Using winter tires for a third of the year will help your all-season tires last longer, so you will replace them less often. Do you still need more convincing? Winter tires improve traction, which also improves fuel economy. You will be safer in your car, and you will spend less time and money at the pumps.
Install New Wiper Blades
The number of people driving around with huge piles of snow on top of their cars is simply staggering. Taking the time to properly clear off your car is such an obvious safety measure, we feel bad for even mentioning it, but yes – clear the snow off of the roof of your car before driving away! While you’re at it, please clear more than a tiny square from the front and rear windshields. All of the windows being completely free of snow will do just fine, thank you. However, your nicely cleared windshield won’t stay that way for long if you’re using the cracked and damaged windshield wipers that have been on there since… Exactly when was the last time you changed your wiper blades, anyway? If you’re like most people in Ontario, it has probably been far too long.
A quick search on Google shows that even “premium” wiper blades are available for less than $20. You could probably find fancier, more expensive ones that will prevent against streaking, but if you don’t want to splurge even a brand new set of the cheapest wiper blades you can find will probably do a much better job than whatever is currently on your car. Never underestimate the importance of a clear windshield, especially in wet conditions. Things can go from nice and clear to some seriously reduced visibility in the blink of an eye. Also be sure to keep your windshield wiper fluid container full in winter, and carry an extra bottle in the trunk. In the slushy, mucky condition of the roads after a heavy snowfall you will be surprised to learn just how fast you go through it.
Carry a Winter Safety Kit
Of course nobody wants to think about getting stranded in their car for a long period of time, but stranger things have happened on Ontario highways. Even more frightening is what could happen if you’re literally on the road less travelled. What you need to carry for a safe, comfortable journey will largely be determined by the length of your drive, but here are some items that are generally considered essential to stock a winter safety kit for your vehicle:
• Fully charged cell phone and car charger;
• Collapsible shovel;
• Traction mats, kitty litter or sand;
• Warm blankets;
• Snow brush and ice scraper;
• First aid kit;
• Booster or “jumper” cables;
• Road flares and a reflective safety vest;
• A candle and matches stored in a waterproof carrier;
• Extra windshield wiper fluid;
• Weather-appropriate clothing including boots; and,
• Water and non-perishable snacks
This list may seem like paranoia to the uninitiated, but if a major crash delays you by several hours or you find yourself stranded in a deserted parking lot, you’ll never be sorry you had some of these safety items on hand. If you’re travelling with children, a couple of simple car games may be good to keep in your back pocket. It probably won’t save your life, but it may save your sanity!
If you are not a vehicle owner, and you feel like you won’t qualify for a car loan to become one any time soon, you may be in for a surprise. Auto Loan Solutions has been helping people just like you secure automotive financing since 1959. Try our easy online application form to get behind the wheel of your dream car right away. It is easier than you think to get yourself behind the wheel, even if you have a less-than-perfect credit history. Do you know someone who could use a tune up on winter safety? Please share this post them!
Did we miss a piece of automotive safety equipment that you simply cannot face the prospect of winter without? Come share it with the growing online community over at our Facebook page.