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Depending on what area of the country you live in, the start of the winter season can bring with it a whole host of concerns when it comes to your automobile. Poor driving conditions and frigid conditions may literally leave you stuck out in the cold if you aren’t properly prepared to deal with them.

Get your car a “Check-Up”

The absolute best way to ensure that you?re prepared to handle the weather ahead is to have your car checked out by a licensed mechanic. You?ll want a tune up, all your fluid levels checked, your battery tested and all your belts and hoses inspected. Sub freezing temperatures can further shorten the lives of worn down batteries and the less than perfect pliable materials that your belts and hoses are made of. A dead battery or broken belt is a great way to end up freezing your rear end off on the side of the road while you wait for roadside assistance.

Make sure your tires are in good condition and properly balanced as well – it?s no fun at all having to change a flat on the side of the road while you?re knee deep in snow and slush and the sun is going down.

Be Prepared

There are certain things that you should always have in your car in case of an emergency, like a small tool kit including the necessary items to change a flat, some small hand tools, a flashlight and a roll of duct tape; you should also have a fully stocked first aid kit and some flares in case of a night time emergency. These things become even more important to have handy in the event of extremely cold temperatures or the threat of heavy snow. In the spring and summer you can wait comfortably for help to arrive, but in zero degree temperatures you may find yourself with a nasty case of frost bite if you can?t get your car operational and help is a long way away. In addition to your normal tools and first aid kit you should also pack a couple of nice heavy blankets into your trunk in the event that you do have to wait in the cold for help to arrive

Tire chains are another possibility (or necessity depending upon where you live), that can be extremely helpful for winter travel. There are several types of chains available, which can cause some confusion but your mechanic should have no trouble suggesting a set that will work well in your particular area. Sets of chains may vary quite a bit in cost, but it?s probably not the best idea to scrimp and save on something that may save your life should you get stuck in the snow.

Be Cautious

Many people fail to pay attention to speed limits, construction signs or the many other laws of the road. Some of those people are lucky enough to get through their travels without causing or being involved in an accident, but the nasty conditions of winter weather can drastically increase the chances of being involved in an accident. When driving in less than favorable conditions you need to slow down and take every precaution in order to stay safe and keep those around you safe. Winter weather decreases visibility and makes roadways slippery and more difficult to navigate, these things coupled with even the slightest bit of negligent behavior is a sure recipe for disaster.

It’s true that driving in winter weather conditions is more risky than driving in perfect weather, but you can minimize the likelihood of having problems by following the steps detailed above. If you are prepared and cautious and have your car checked out fully by a good mechanic you give yourself an excellent chance of having problem free travels regardless of the outside conditions.

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