How to Warm Up Your Car in the Winter?
The winter months can be brutal on your car. Cold temperatures make it difficult for your engine to start and run properly until it warms up. While you may be tempted to idle your car for 10-15 minutes or more to get it nice and warm, that’s not the best practice for your vehicle or the environment. Follow these tips to warm up your car efficiently in the winter.
Run for 30 Seconds Before Driving
When you first start your car in frigid winter temperatures, the engine needs to overcome the resistance created by the cold, viscous oil before it can run smoothly. Letting your car idle for just 30 seconds before putting it in gear and driving allows the oil to circulate and the engine to reach a basic operating temperature. This short amount of time is sufficient to get the oil moving without putting excessive fuel into the cold engine.
Drive Normally After 30 Seconds
Modern engines do not need to be “babied” when cold and driving normally right after the initial 30 second warm-up will help your engine reach its normal operating temperature faster. The act of driving causes the engine to warm up quicker than idling as it generates more heat. Go easy on the gas pedal until the engine warms up but you do not need to drive extra slow. The engine’s temperature will regulate as you drive.
Modern Oils Protect Against Cold Temps
Engine oils have come a long way. Most modern conventional and synthetic oils are formulated to flow well and lubricate effectively even in cold winter temperatures. So you do not need to warm up your car for a long time just to protect the oil. The oil will heat up and thin out as you drive. Letting the car idle unnecessarily long to “get the oil warm” wastes gas.
Clear Snow for Visibility Before Driving
Your primary concern when starting your car should be safety, not warmth. Clear snow off the windows, headlights, brake lights and signals so you can see and be seen. Snow left on the roof can also blow onto the windshield obstructing your view once driving. Limiting visibility by not cleaning the car increases the risk of an accident on snowy or icy roads.
Use a Block Heater for Easier Starts
A block heater (or battery warmer) plugs into an extension cord and runs a current through the engine to keep it warm. This thins oil and antifreeze, making winter start-ups gentler on your engine. The car will start easier, allowing you to drive off normally without extended idling. Installing a block heater is inexpensive compared to the cost of engine repairs.
Use a Winter Fuel Additive
Additives like isopropyl alcohol help gasoline flow more smoothly in cold temperatures. This makes it easier for the fuel system and injectors to operate properly when the engine is cold. Talk to your auto mechanic about using additives for easier winter starting. Never put additives directly into the gas tank yourself; they need to be pre-mixed with the gasoline.
Long Idling May Be Illegal
Many municipalities have enacted idling laws to curb air pollution. Idling your car for more than the recommended 30 seconds to a minute may result in fines depending on where you live. Unnecessarily long idling also wastes fuel and causes excess carbon emissions. Find out idling regulations for your area. Both the environment and your car will benefit from shorter warm-ups.
Other Tips for Warming Up Your Car
- Remove snow from the exhaust pipe before starting to allow fumes to vent safely. This also decreases your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Point car vents to floor when starting; this warms the interior faster. Adjust to panel vents after the engine reaches operating temperature.
- Equip your car with good winter tires for maximum traction. All-season tires lose grip below 45°F.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent gas line freezing. Running low on fuel can cause trouble with winter starts.
- Check antifreeze level and use the recommended 50/50 coolant to water mix for winter driving.
- Invest in an emergency kit with jumper cables, a flashlight, blanket, extra clothes/gloves, snacks, water, and traction aids like kitty litter.
- Allow extra stopping distance and avoid sudden accelerations/stops on icy surfaces. Slow down and steer correctly if you start to skid.
- Keep your car stocked with a snow brush, ice scraper, small shovel, and sand or salt to aid in winter traction. Clear off your car completely before driving.
- Check your tire pressure frequently during winter, as cold weather causes loss of pressure. Proper inflation is key for handling snow.
Preparing your car properly for winter and taking care when driving in cold conditions will keep you safe on the road. Follow these tips for efficient engine warm-up without wasting gas or causing excessive emissions. With the right preparations, you and your car can handle anything winter throws your way. Stay cozy and happy driving!
How Long Should You Idle Your Car in the Winter?
In frigid winter weather, many people idle their cars for up to 15 minutes or more to warm the interior and engine. But is this necessary? How long should you actually idle your car in the winter to be safe and avoid engine damage?
The answer is only 1 to 3 minutes of idling is required for modern cars before driving when temperatures are below freezing. Anything more simply wastes gas and causes excessive emissions. Here’s a breakdown of what happens during the recommended idling time in cold weather:
30 Seconds – Lets oil circulate and lubricate the engine before driving. This initial idling overcomes the resistance created by the viscous, cold oil.
1 Minute – Gets all components like alternator, water pump and power steering unit working. Internal parts are mobilized and start operating normally.
2 Minutes – Warms engine coolant to aid heat dissipation and improve cabin heater performance. Coolant needs to warm up to work effectively.
3 Minutes – Stabilizes idle speed as engine reaches consistent operating temperature. The engine computer adjusts performance once warm.
Beyond 3 minutes, there is minimal benefit to extended idling. Modern engines warm up faster when driving compared to excessive idling anyway. The friction from driving generates more heat energy to warm the engine than idling alone.
In very cold climates (below -20°F) it can be reasonable to idle for up to 5 minutes maximum to ensure stable engine performance. But no more than that is required. Idle times beyond what is necessary to stabilize your engine are ineffective and waste gas. Follow your owner’s manual recommendations for your specific vehicle.
The bottom line is limit idling to 1-3 minutes in average winter conditions. Then simply drive moderately until the engine gauge shows normal operating temperature. Your car does not need to be “warmed up” for long periods; that practice is now outdated. Get in, start up, idle briefly, and drive for optimal winter warm-up.
How Long Does it Take for a Car Engine to Warm Up in Winter?
On frigid winter days, you likely want to limit your time spent outside in the cold. But that doesn’t mean you should let your car idle indefinitely just to get the engine warm. Exactly how long does it take for a car engine to warm up in winter?
Most modern engines only take 5-10 minutes of normal driving in winter conditions to reach operating temperature. Here is a rough timeline:
- At 1 minute of driving, coolant starts circulating to warm the engine block and cabin heater.
- At 3 minutes, engine components are adequately lubricated and working normally. Oil has heated up and thinned out.
- Around 5 minutes the engine coolant reaches about 90°F, allowing heat to start dissipating from the block and head.
- Within 10 minutes of normal winter driving, engine coolant temperature will be in the range of 165°F to 195°F for most vehicles. This is full operating temperature.
Note that the exact warm-up timing can vary based on driving conditions and engine size. Smaller engines may reach operating temp in closer to 8 minutes, while larger truck engines need 10-15 minutes. Extended idling does not appreciably change these times.
The key is to “baby” the engine as little as possible. Drive moderately after idling for 30-60 seconds. Accelerating smoothly (but not aggressively) will bring the engine to temp faster than granny-style slow driving or excessive idling.
Essentially, the normal commute time for most people allows an engine to fully warm up after a brief initial idle period. Cabin heat will start flowing within a couple minutes. There is no need to warm up your car for 10-15+ minutes – that wastes fuel, hurts the engine, and increases emissions. Get in, start up, idle for under a minute, and drive away.
Top 5 Ways to Warm Up Your Car Quickly
On cold winter mornings your nice warm bed can seem a lot more enticing than heading out into the frigid air. But inevitably you’ve got to get up, go outside and start your car. Here are 5 great ways to warm up your vehicle quickly so you can be on your way.
1. Use an Engine Block Heater – Block heaters plug into a power outlet and warm the engine overnight so it starts right up even in subzero temperatures. Installation is easy.
2. Put on Seat Warmers – Most new vehicles come equipped with heated seats that you can activate instantly. Warm your buns directly and stay cozy.
3. Blast the Defrost – Turn your heater to full defrost mode and bask in the heated air melting the windshield ice. It will warm the cabin fast.
4. Get Heated Side Mirrors – You may not realize your side mirrors can heat up just like the rear window defroster. Activate them for frost-free driving.
5. Remote Start is Magic – Remotely start your car before leaving the house so it has time to warm up. This luxury makes winter mornings much more bearable.
Warming up your car quickly gets your cabin comfortable and defrosted before you even head outside. And by skipping extended idling, you help reduce emissions and avoid potential engine damage. Try these pro tips to take the sting out of cold weather driving. Stay cozy out there!
Winter Driving Safety Tips
Driving in wintry conditions can be challenging even for experienced drivers. Black ice, snow-covered roads and limited visibility make winter hazards plentiful. Follow these top tips to stay safe if you have to drive in cold weather:
- Slow Down – Reduce your speed to account for decreased traction. Give yourself ample time to accelerate, brake and steer gently.
- Increase Following Distance – Leave 3-4 times more space between you and the car ahead to allow for extra stopping distance if needed.
- Know Your Brakes – Test them gently when first driving to see how slippery the roads are so you can adjust your speed and distance accordingly.
- Don’t Power Up Hills – Apply gentle, steady pressure on the gas to avoid losing traction and sliding backwards. Don’t stop when going uphill – start slowly instead.
- Don’t Stop Going Uphill – There’s a risk you’ll lose momentum and get stuck. Carefully start uphill rolls instead.
- Watch for Black Ice – Roady surfaces that look wet may actually be treacherous ice, so always be alert.
- Equip Snow Tires – All-weather tires lose effectiveness below 45°F. Snow tires enhance cold weather traction.
- Check Road Conditions – Check the weather and online traffic sites for accident reports to avoid dangerous areas.
- Clear Off All Snow – Make sure all your windows, lights, mirrors and the roof are free of snow before driving for best visibility and safety.
- Stock an Emergency Kit – Bring warm clothes, blankets, flashlight, snacks, phone charger, sand or kitty litter, jumper cables, shovel, flares and any medications needed.
Staying cautious, leaving early and driving slowly despite possible impatience from other drivers will get you to your destination safest. Don’t let winter hazards rush you into driving dangerously. Safety first!
How Does Idling Affect Your Car in Cold Weather?
Does your car need to idle for long periods in the winter to “warm up the engine”? The truth is excessive idling and myths about needing to baby an engine in cold weather often do more harm than good. Here’s how idling affects your car when it’s cold out:
Wear on Internal Parts – Fuel doesn’t combust fully until the engine reaches operating temperature. So cold idling causes raw fuel to wash over engine cylinders and contaminate oil, promoting premature wear over time.
Oil Dilution – Unburnt fuel seeps into the crankcase from cold idling, diluting the oil and making it less effective at lubricating. This reduces oil life.
Spark Plug Fouling – Cold idling leads to carbon deposits on spark plugs from incomplete fuel combustion. This degrades ignition performance.
Engine Strain – Pistons have to work harder compressing thick, cold oil when an engine hasn’t properly warmed up. Extended idling strains the motor.
Excess Emissions – Because combustion is incomplete when cold, idling produces more hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide until the car reaches operating temp.
Wasted Fuel – An idling car gets 0 miles per gallon. All that fuel used while parked waiting for the engine to warm up is 100% wasted.
The bottom line is excessive idling is ineffective and puts more stress on your engine than just driving normally after an initial 30-60 second warmup period. It’s best to limit idling time and accelerate smoothly once on the road.
Despite common perceptions, minimal idling is healthiest for your car in cold weather. So don’t leave it running unnecessarily; shut it off if waiting for any length of time. Your vehicle will thank you!
Tips for Deicing a Frozen Car Lock
Few things are more infuriating on a frigid winter morning than finding your car door frozen shut. The lock mechanisms and rubber seals around doors can easily freeze overnight, trapping you out of your frozen vehicle. Here are some tips for deicing a stubborn frozen car lock:
- Use Lock Deicer – Keep a can of lock deicer specifically designed for frozen auto locks in your winter survival kit. It thaws the mechanisms rapidly.
- Try the Key Fob – Repeatedly push the unlock button on your key fob from a few feet away. This can vibrate the lock just enough to loosen it up.
- Warm the Key – Put your metal key in your pocket for a minute or two to warm it up before inserting into the frozen lock. The heat can help it turn.
- Use Hand Warmers – Apply a hand warmer packet to the lock area for 1-2 minutes until you can insert the key.
- Try a Hair Dryer – Turn a hair dryer on warm (not hot) and wave it back and forth over the frozen lock to gently heat it.
- Rub Deicer on the Key – Coat your key with standard deicer or rubbing alcohol to make inserting it easier. This can lubricate the frozen mechanism.
- DON’T Pound the Lock – Hitting a frozen lock aggressively can cause interior parts to break and make the situation worse. Use gentle warming methods instead.
With some patience and smart warming techniques, you can thaw those stubborn frozen locks and get on your way. Keep emergency deicer handy to avoid being stranded outside on brutal icy mornings. Stay warm!
How to Check Your Tire Pressure in Cold Weather?
Maintaining proper tire pressure is important year-round for control and preventing wear, but it requires special attention as temperatures drop. Tire pressure fluctuates seasonally and often needs adjusting for winter weather. Here are some tips for checking your tire pressure in cold conditions:
- Know the Recommended Pressure – Check your owner’s manual or door jamb sticker for the PSI (pounds per square inch) pressure recommended for your tires when cold. Don’t inflate to the higher pressures listed for warm tires.
- Adjust for the Temperature – For every 10°F in temperature drop, tire pressure decreases 1 PSI. Use an online tire inflation calculator to see how much to add relative to outside temps.
- Check When Cold – Only measure and inflate tires first thing when you take your vehicle out into the cold, before driving has warmed them up. Cold tires show true pressure.
- Use an Accurate Gauge – Quality gauges like dial or digital types will be the most precise. Avoid cheap stick gauges that tend to be less accurate and reliable.
- Check All Tires – Examine all tires, including spare and rear tires. Uneven pressures can make the vehicle pull to one side.
- Recheck Monthly – Inspect pressures at least monthly during cold weather, as tires naturally lose some PSI over time through normal permeation.
Following these tips will keep your tires properly inflated and rolling smoothly all winter. Proper pressure maximizes winter traction while also preventing uneven wear as temperatures fluctuate. Check often and inflate accordingly.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Cruise Control on Icy Roads?
Cruise control is a handy feature on long drives to automatically maintain your desired speed without needing to press the gas pedal. But should you use cruise control on slippery winter roads? Definitely not, and here’s why:
- Loss of Wheel Traction – Cruise control keeps applying gas regardless of road conditions. If your wheels hit ice and start to slip, cruise will make that worse by not letting up on the accelerator.
- Delayed Reaction Time – On icy surfaces, quick reflexes are needed to adapt your speed. But cruise control takes a moment to disengage when you hit the brakes, slowing your reaction.
- Reduced Control – Cruise removes your ability to subtly modulate speed as needed on slick roads. Any sudden loss of grip becomes more hazardous.
- Poor Tire Contact – Cruise causes consistent pedal pressure even when you need to gently “feather” the gas to maintain maximum tire contact on snow and ice.
- Unexpected Acceleration – Cruise can suddenly apply extra gas if it detects slowdown, potentially causing skids on winter roads. You need complete control.
- Downhill Slides – Cruise struggles to adapt to steep icy downgrades, potentially leading to slippery runaway slides. Manual control is safer.
- False Sense of Security – The consistency of cruise can lure drivers into complacency on precarious winter roads that require full attention.
- Distraction Factor – Fiddling with cruise buttons takes your eyes off the road. Full focus is key for winter driving.
For maximum control and safety, the best practice is to avoid using cruise control on snowy or icy pavement. The risk is too high of a patch of ice suddenly triggering traction loss that cruise cannot properly correct for. Turn it off and be ready to respond to winter hazards.
How to Drive Safely in Foggy Conditions?
Driving in dense fog can be one of winter’s most treacherous challenges. Visibility and depth perception are extremely reduced in heavy fog. Follow these tips for driving safely if you encounter wintry fog:
- Reduce Speed – Slow down to compensate for decreased visibility and extended stopping distances. Creep along cautiously at half speed or less.
- Increase Following Distance – Leave at least 8-10 seconds between you and the vehicle ahead to allow extra reaction time should it brake suddenly.
- Use Low Beams – High beams will reflect back and cause additional glare in fog. Low beams enhance view of the road directly ahead.
- Avoid Passing – Don’t attempt to pass slower vehicles. Poor visibility increases the risk of a crash.
- Turn on Fog Lights – If equipped, use fog lamps centered low on your car’s front to better illuminate the roadway without glare.
- Watch for Rear Fog – Use your rear defogger and outside mirrors to spot fog density behind you and know when vehicles are approaching.
- Use Road Edge as a Guide – Use the curb, shoulder or lane markers at the edge of the road to help stay oriented when you can’t see far ahead.
- Watch for Sped Limit Signs – Use posted speed limits as a guide for how fast to drive until visibility improves.
- Turn on Hazard Lights – Flashing hazards make your vehicle more visible to others on the road in foggy conditions.
- Don’t Stop on the Road – Pull off fully out of traffic if you need to stop to avoid becoming a hazard.
Driving in dense fog requires extreme focus, patience and following sensible precautions. Don’t risk an accident by speeding; slow down and be prepared to stop suddenly if needed. Stay safe out there!
Car Care Tips for Driving in Cold Rain and Snow
Precipitation in any form makes driving more hazardous in winter due to reduced visibility and traction. But you can take proactive steps with your vehicle to better handle cold rain and snowy conditions:
- Check Wipers and Fluid – Make sure windshield wiper blades are in good shape to clear rain and snow effectively. Fill washer fluid reservoir.
- Inspect Tires – Verify adequate tread for winter traction. Rotate when needed. Check inflation pressures monthly.
- Tune Up Ignition – Replace old spark plugs so wet weather doesn’t exacerbate issues with weak sparks and poor performance.
- Change Oil – Use lighter viscosity oil for easier cold starts. Shorten change intervals to keep oil clean.
- Check Exhaust – Cold rain and salt from roads can accelerate exhaust corrosion. Inspect for leaks/damage.
- Lubricate – Use protective sprays on locks, latches, doors and windows to prevent freezing. Lightly lubricate window channels.
- Check HVAC System – Ensure defrosters, heat and AC function properly to keep windows clear and maintain visibility in precipitation.
- Check Battery and Cables – Cold, wet weather is hard on batteries. Verify posts are corrosion-free and hold a full charge.
- Check Air Filter – Change cabin air filter so heat and defrosters work efficiently.
Taking preventative steps to winterize your vehicle makes it easier to handle whatever weather comes your way. A well-maintained car helps you drive more safely through rain, sleet and snow.
How to Drive in Whiteout Blizzard Conditions?
Getting caught driving in a full whiteout blizzard is scary and extremely dangerous. Snow falls so thick and winds blow so hard that visibility is reduced to zero. Here are tips if you find yourself in a whiteout while driving:
- Resist the urge to panic. Focus on driving slowly and safely.
- Put on hazard lights so other vehicles can see you.
- Come to a complete stop ONLY if you safely can. Otherwise, creep along very slowly.
- If you can’t see well enough to drive, pull as far off the road as possible and STOP.
- Do NOT try driving by the taillights ahead of you. This can lead you off the road.
- Turn on interior dome light to see the edge of the road if lines aren’t visible.
- Roll down side window briefly to listen for traffic if visibility is zero.
- Use brakes gently to avoid skidding on snowy or icy pavement.
- Do not stop and exit your vehicle unless you’re positive another vehicle won’t strike you.
- Consider waiting for plows to pass so you can follow them slowly out of the storm.
- If no plow comes, wait for visibility to improve before attempting to drive again.
- If stranded, stay in your car with seatbelts on. Display a distress flag from the window.
The only safe option in a full whiteout is to stop driving completely. Hunker down and focus on staying warm until the storm passes and visibility improves.
How to Recover from a Winter Skid?
Sometimes even defensive drivers can hit an icy patch and start to skid during winter driving. Staying calm and using proper techniques for recovering from a skid can help prevent an accident. Here are the steps:
1. Avoid Overcorrecting
Your instinct may be to whip the wheel in the opposite direction of the skid. But too sharp of a turn can make you skid in the other direction. Gently turn the steering wheel toward the direction you want to travel.
2. Look Where You Want to Go
Focus your vision on where you want the car to go as you recover, not on what you’re trying to avoid. This helps you steer in the right direction.
3. Be Smooth with Pedals
Don’t slam the brakes or hit the gas! Gently ease off the accelerator and use brakes lightly. Sudden pedal motions will make skidding worse.
4. Straighten Wheels
As soon as the car regains traction, gently straighten the wheels. You don’t want to oversteer and start a new skid.
5. Regain Control Slowly
Carefully work to get the vehicle back up to a safe driving speed. Don’t mash the gas pedal aggressively when recovering.
6. Adjust for Conditions
Slow down and increase following distance. The ice patch you hit likely signals worse road conditions ahead requiring extra caution.
Staying calm is key to avoiding making the skid worse. Focus on the direction you need to go and use gentle counter steering and pedal work to recover control.
Winter Emergency Car Kit Checklist
No one wants to get stuck in a winter storm, but it’s wise to be prepared just in case with a well-stocked emergency car kit including:
- Blankets – For keeping warm if stranded
- Flashlight + batteries – For visibility if stuck at night
- Snacks – Energy bars, nuts, crackers, etc.
- Water – To prevent dehydration if stuck for an extended time
- Jumper cables – For jump starting your car or helping others
- Flares or warning triangles – To alert other drivers if stopped on the road
- Ice scraper + snow brush – For clearing off your car
- Traction aids – Like sand, cat litter, or traction mats
- Shovel – For digging out your parked car
- Extra gloves, hats, socks – To layer clothes in cold temps
- Winter boots and warm clothes – For protection outdoors
- First aid kit – For minor injuries
- Hand warmers – To put in gloves, shoes, or pockets
- Backup phone charger
Having these essentials can literally be a lifesaver if your vehicle stalls or you become stranded. The right provisions keep you safe and warm until you can get assistance. Don’t get caught unprepared!
Tips for Checking Road Conditions Before Driving
Venturing out without checking for winter hazards can put you in dangerous, unpredictable situations on the road. Be prepared by checking these resources before any winter drive:
- Weather Forecast – Look at expected snow, ice, and temperature trends for where you’re traveling.
- DOT Website – State Department of Transportation sites list highway conditions, snow removal progress, and any advisories.
- Traffic Cameras – View live highway webcams to see real-time road conditions.
- Social Media – Check official police and traffic reports on Twitter or Facebook for accidents and closures.
- News/Radio – Tune in for the latest local weather and traffic updates.
- Highway Emergency Signs – Digital signs may flash notices about incidents ahead on highways.
- Navigation Apps – Plug in your destination for optimal route and alerts about delays or non-moving traffic.
- 511 Information Line – Many state’s offer a hotline with prerecorded messages about major delays.
- Call Rest Stops – You can call ahead to rest areas near your route to ask staff about observed conditions.
Doing some quick research before hitting the road can help you identify major backups or hazardous areas in time to take an alternate route. Staying informed keeps you one step ahead of winter surprises.
How to Stay Visible to Other Drivers in Stormy Conditions?
When heavy snow, fog, or rain limits visibility on the roads, it also makes your car harder for other drivers to see. Use these tips to make your vehicle as conspicuous as possible in stormy conditions:
- Ensure ALL your exterior lights work and are free of snow and dirt. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
- Keep headlights on low beam. High beams can reflect off precipitation and actually make it harder for other drivers to see you.
- Use fog lights in heavy rain or snow to increase foreground visibility if your car has them.
- Turn on emergency flashers when driving slowly, stopped, or if conditions are drastically reduced. The flashing lights will stand out to others.
- Hang a brightly colored towel or piece of cloth from a partially open window as a makeshift distress flag if stranded.
- Pull off the road as far as possible if you need to stop. Do not stop in traffic lanes.
- Carry reflectors or flares to place on the ground behind your car if you must pull over on the shoulder or breakdown.
- Avoid dark vehicle colors that can seem nearly invisible to other drivers in poor visibility. Light colors show up better.
- Clean all snow off brake lights, turn signals, and back window. These are critical for other drivers to see.
- Use extra caution when passing plows. Stay well back but pass safely when you have clear road ahead to avoid collision.
The key is making your vehicle obvious to surrounding drivers despite the weather challenges. Stay bright!
How to Prevent Windshield Wipers from Freezing to the Glass?
Nothing’s more annoying on a snowy morning than wiper blades that are frozen stuck to your windshield. Prevent this icy frustration with these tips:
- When parking, lift wiper arms off the glass so they don’t freeze down overnight. Make sure blades rest on felt stops.
- Use a good winter wiper fluid with antifreeze components to lower its freezing point, to avoid ice encasing the blades.
- If expecting freezing rain, consider covering blades with old socks or wiper covers sold for that purpose.
- Rub blades frequently with silicone or glycerin spray to prevent ice adhesion. Do not use grease.
- Avoid trapped snow around the wiper motor and pivot points that can freeze the mechanism. Clear away buildup.
- If blades do freeze down, pour warm (not hot) water slowly along the base to gradually release the ice. Don’t just rip them up off the glass.
- Replace worn blades regularly, as cracked rubber is more prone to sticking and freezing to the windshield.
- Gently loosen any chunks of packed snow sticking to blades by hand before using them. Don’t activate frozen wipers.
Taking a few preventative steps will protect your wipers and keep them working properly through harsh winter weather. Don’t get left with a frozen windshield and blocked vision.
How to Drive Safely Around Plow Trucks?
Sharing winter roads with plows requires extra caution, but safe driving around these snow-clearing trucks is possible by following these smart tips:
- Allow at least 5-6 car lengths of space between your vehicle and the plow. Their trucks take longer to slow or stop.
- Understand that by the nature of their job, plow drivers will often cross the center line and encroach into oncoming lanes. Be prepared for this.
- Pass plow trucks very carefully, only when you have clear visibility ahead in your lane. Avoid passing multiple trucks in tandem.
- When a plow is coming toward you, stay attentive in case snow or ice gets pushed across into your path at the last second.
- Plows turn and exit the road frequently as they clear parking lots, side streets, and subdivisions. Watch for sudden maneuvers.
- Stay back from plow trucks on the highway to avoid reduced visibility from snow billowing in the air around the truck.
- In whiteout blizzard conditions, consider letting a plow vehicle lead the way so you can follow its taillights and tracks in the snow.
- If you must stop, pull off the road fully to avoid getting rear-ended by a plow. Never stop in the traveled lane.
- Understand that plows travel well below speed limits for safety. Don’t grow impatient and make risky passes.
Being alert and giving plow trucks plenty of leeway allows you to share the roads safely with these snow-clearing crews doing their important jobs. Their work helps us all drive more easily in winter.
Driving in cold weather demands preparation, knowledge and extra caution to handle additional road hazards from snow, slush, and ice safely. Take the time to properly clear and winterize your vehicle, leave stopping distance, avoid cruise control, and steer gently on slick surfaces.
Following wise winter driving practices reduces both frustration and risk so you reach your destination unruffled no matter the weather. Stay cozy and safe on those frosty winter roads!