Cold Weather Hacks for Drivers on the Road

Strong Tie Insurance February 15, 2021 Our Blog

Between black ice and blizzard conditions, driving in cold weather can be dangerous indeed. Driving a tractor-trailer in winter conditions, even more so. Be sure you have the right commercial insurance, and follow these tips for both car and truck drivers alike.

The Most Deadly Weather Conditions

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are approximately 5,891,000 vehicle crashes every year, and over 20% of those are weather-related. On average, 418,000 people experience injuries and 5,000 people die due to these crashes.

Extreme weather conditions causing these accidents include snow, ice, sleet, fog, wind, and rain. Fortunately, there are several tried-and-true tips drivers have used for years to help prevent accidents in extreme weather conditions. Be sure you and your commercial vehicle are adequately protected before an accident occurs.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 tips for driving in cold weather.

Tip #1 – Travel With Kitty Litter

Cat litter with silica offers some amazing qualities that help make winter weather driving a little less annoying. Pour some in a few socks and place them around the vehicle. The absorbent material will absorb moisture and reduce the inside of your windows from fogging up.

This handy sand-like substance can also be used to help a vehicle that is stuck in the snow and ice. Apply a bag underneath the wheels in order to get the traction you need. Keeping a 20-pound bag in the trunk will also provide extra weight over the rear axle.

For drivers who left their litter at home, use an old-fashioned chalkboard eraser to clear the windows.

Tip #2 – Prevent a Frozen Vehicle Windshield

Nothing is really more annoying than waking up or walking out to a frozen-over windshield. Letting the engine run for a while can take 10 minutes off your day. Fortunately, car and truck drivers have come up with a few smart solutions.

One solution is to spray a solution of rubbing alcohol and water which dissolves the ice. Use 2/3 cup rubbing or isopropyl alcohol to 1/3 cup H2O.

Alcohol can also be used to prepare washer fluid. Combine one gallon of water with 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol, 1/2 cup of vinegar, and 1 TBS. of dish soap. Make sure to test the mixture to see if it freezes before adding it to your car. If it does, simply add more alcohol.

Tip #3 – Prevent a Frozen Car Door

Both car doors and locks can freeze when outside temperatures plummet. Avoid having to wait for them to defrost by making a preemptive strike.

Try using a little hand sanitizer on your keys or spray WD-40 into your vehicle locks. These two tips discourage and melt icy buildup.

Cooking spray applied to your vehicle’s door the night before a winter storm may keep icy buildup from getting inside the door.

Spray the lubricant on the outside rubber edges and wipe off.

Tip #4 – Multi-Use Floor Mats

Floor mats have multiple uses when it comes to winter weather and worsening road conditions. If your car or truck is stuck in snow or ice, place the mats under the tires in the direction the vehicle is heading in order to produce a mini runway. Make sure you have commercial insurance protection that includes towing.

These mats can also be placed on your windshields after driving should the forecast suggest snow and ice tomorrow.

Tip #5 – Care for Your Windshield and Wipers

Drivers used to winter driving know that, after stopping for the day, lifting the windshield wipers helps stop them from sticking to the windshield. Additionally, placing a jumbo wool sock on each one prevents ice buildup.

Drivers can also put these same socks over their shoes for added traction in icy conditions.

Tip #6 – Turn to the East

Traditional cultures around the world turn to the east to greet the rising sun and give thanks for another day. It ends up, this is a good direction for your car, as well.

Make sure to park your car facing east, if possible, so that the rising sun can melt some of that ice and snow off the windshield of your car or truck.

Tip #7 – Credit Card De-Icers

Winter driving really requires having a scraper in your car. Whether due to a change in the vehicle or a borrowed scraper, it’s almost inevitable that a driver will find themselves without this necessity at some point in time.

Get out your wallet and take a look for an old credit or gift card. Though a little time-consuming and requiring a little more elbow grease, in a pinch, these plastic cards can act as a de-icer.

Tip #8 – Keep Mirrors Snow-Free

Mirrors are vital to driving safely, particularly in winter driving conditions. Prevent snow buildup on the mirrors on your vehicle by wrapping them in plastic bags after parking for the night.

Tip #9 – Perform a Circle Check

If you’re a truck driver, you know all too well about the circle safety check. It’s the way a driver checks their vehicle before they drive away for the day.

Unfortunately, when time is of the essence, it’s easy to leave the safety check until later–but later may never come.

A well-performed circle check is a way to avoid an emergency while on the road that could lead to a truck insurance claim. First, check that all of the lights are working. Check that the wipers, defrosters, and heaters are working. Clean the windows and mirrors, if needed, and make sure the washer fluid is full.

Always check your tires and keep them at the recommended tire pressure. Deflated tires provide less traction and are a major safety and emergency concern.

Get a good tire pressure gauge. Leave yourself enough time to add air, if needed, and try using the tire pressure gauge when tires are cold or at least three hours after you’re scheduled to drive.

While on the road, keeping fuel tanks topped off adds weight and helps give extra needed traction.

At Strong Tie Insurance, we’ve been helping truckers drive safely on the road for over 20 years. Be sure you have the comprehensive commercial insurance you need. Call us for a no-obligation quote.