If 2021 taught Texans anything about winter weather, it’s that many of us were woefully unprepared without a winter car safety checklist. Sadly, the snowstorm that hit in the early months created chaos across the state.
The 2021 Texas winter storm resulted in:
- At least 210 deaths: hypothermia, car wrecks, carbon monoxide poisoning, and more
- 4.5 million Texas homes and businesses without power at the height of the storm
- Millions of Texans went days without power
- Statewide shortages of water, food, and heat
- Damages estimated to be at least $195 billion
With car wrecks, it can be challenging to determine whether the snowstorm was the direct cause. But there’s no denying a winter car safety checklist is essential for Texans who want to feel safe and secure the next time a snowstorm strikes.
Winter Car Care 101
Preparing your car for winter might not be something you’re used to as a Texan. But with the winter storm of 2021 still fresh in our minds, taking every precaution now seems critical. The AAA Winter Car Care Checklist offers abundant guidance on preparing for cold weather events. Some of the most vital steps are outlined below.
Battery and Charging System
AAA suggests having your battery and charging system inspected by a trained professional. When cold weather hits, you’ll need a fully charged battery in good condition. Otherwise, you won’t be going anywhere. Your local auto repair shop can test your battery and charging system and make a replacement if necessary. If you need a new battery, it’s a relatively inexpensive replacement that can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Tire Type and Tread
All-season tires can help you make the best of light-to-moderate snow conditions. Have a professional technician check your tires for winter readiness as part of your winter car safety checklist. They will want to replace any tires with less than 3/32-inches of tread. Your auto repair shop can also check for any alignment, suspension, or balance issues that might further compromise your tires. While Texas snowstorms might be rare, a set of good all-season tires is an investment that will have you feeling more safe than sorry.
At the very least, you want to make sure your wiper blades are in good working condition. Look for blades that fully clear the glass every time they swipe. If you see missed spots or streaks, it’s time for a new blade. If you want to go the extra mile, you can invest in winter wiper blades. These wipers are specially designed to reduce ice and snow buildup, ensuring proper contact between your windshield and the wipers.
As winter approaches, it’s a good idea to check tire pressure more frequently as part of you winter car safety checklist. This includes all four tires and your spare. (If you don’t have a spare, now is an excellent time to get one.) As the temperature drops outside, your tire pressure will drop as well, increasing your risk of getting a flat tire. You can get more information on proper tire pressure from your owner’s manual or during a visit to your local auto repair shop.
Making an Emergency Road Care Kit
An emergency road care kit is one of those things you hope you’ll never have to use. But if you do need it, you’ll be happy you thought ahead. Your emergency road care kit ensures that you’re prepared for cold weather travel and helps keep you safe when the unexpected happens. Even if you aren’t going far, you don’t want to get stuck in severe weather without the proper gear and clothing.
Keep your kit in the back seat in case you can’t access the trunk:
- First aid kit – bandages, tape, gauze, wound dressing, gloves, cold pack, blanket, etc.
- Sleeping gear – a 100% wool blanket, a below-zero sleeping bag, a pillow
- Clothing – wool socks, long johns, gloves, hat, boots, wool scarf
- Food – water and weather-durable snacks like beef jerky, granola bars, dried fruit
- Tools – flashlight, car shovel, rescue knife, ice scraper, jumper cables, car fire extinguisher, road flares, tire iron
- Supplies – gas can, tow strap, duct tape, reflective vest
- Personal items – lip balm, Kleenex, garbage bags, toilet paper, feminine hygiene, baby items, moist wipes, notepad, a sturdy backpack
Your emergency road care kit can be a lifesaver if you’re stranded, have to sleep in your car, or have to walk from your car to seek help. You’ll want to be sure every driver in your family has access to a complete kit since Texas weather can change drastically from hour to hour.
A Dallas Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
It’s good to be prepared with a winter car safety checklist, but not all car accidents can be avoided. If you or a loved one were injured in an auto accident, a Dallas personal injury attorney can help. Determining fault can be tricky, especially when bad weather is involved. Give Thompson Law a call today to discuss your case at no cost.
We offer the following services:
- Car accidents
- Truck and 18-wheeler accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bites
- Premises injuries
- Slip and falls
- And more
Call us today for a free consultation so we can discuss your legal rights and options. A personal injury lawyer can help you file within the statute of limitations, negotiate a fair settlement, and understand your legal rights. Remember–we don’t collect compensation unless you do, and your consultation is FREE.
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