FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — With winter storms a reality in January, it’s important to know how to handle adverse weather on the road, and how the cold impacts your car.
And there’s one simple tip that professionals offer to anyone thinking about driving during a winter storm.
“If you can stay off the roads, if it’s not a priority, don’t be out there,” said Chris Morgan, Vice President of Blue Eagle Towing. “Councilman Bender said it really well at council, we have an amazing street department that will be out there clearing the roads. Stay off the streets and out of their way.”
But for those who have to brave the elements for work or other obligations, there are ways to prepare yourself and your vehicle.
“One thing that I like to do right before a storm hits is make sure I get my oil changed,” said Sara Fox-Holtgrave, marketing manager with Fox & Fox Full Automotive Service Shop.
While routine maintenance is important year-round, its vitality is amplified when a winter storm hits.
“A few easy steps can make the difference between a bad day with lost time and unexpected expenses, and a normal day with no issues,” Fox-Holtgrave said.
Fox-Holtgrave told WANE 15 that the following are good things to check up on before storms hit:
Check your lights
Maintain car battery
Flush and fill coolant
Top off gasoline and washer fluid
Invest in winter tires
Stay on top of tire pressure
Test your defroster and heater
Pack a survival kit (includes items like a blanket, first aid kit, a spare cellphone charger and tools to clear snow)
But if you do get into a sticky situation and need a tow, there are also ways to do it prudently.
“Stay in your car and call, call a tow truck, and if you feel it’s a danger and you’re impeding traffic, call the police,” Morgan said. “Something that most people don’t realize is that they have the right to select their service provider of choice. They don’t have to use the police department provider as long as their provider can get to the scene in 20 minutes and match the police contract provider.”
While others are being towed, you can help speed up the process by giving tow trucks the space they need to operate.
“When you see the trucks on the side of the road and they have their lights on and they’re currently working on helping someone else slow down and move over,” said Mark Campbell, operations manager with Blue Eagle towing. “Give us the space to be able to do our job, and help us get home to our families without there being a further accident.”