With the cold weather quickly approaching, it is natural to become nervous about the dangerous road conditions you and your car will be facing. From snow and ice to diminished visibility on the road, even driving on a quiet Newton side street can transform into a deadly adventure. Plus, depending on the upcoming snowfall in New Jersey, even the shortest drive can turn into a grueling trek through a wintery nightmare.
Our Toyota World of Newton car dealership would like to help you prepare for the worst Mother Nature can throw your way. In addition to our selection of super-safe Toyota models, we’d like to offer you a few tips, too. Check these ten ways to stay safe on those icy, snowy, and pothole-riddled roads.
- Getting Your Vehicle Ready
Once the temperatures start plummeting, you should make sure that your car has everything it needs to take on winter. This includes the correct grade of oil, an ice scraper, snow shovel, sandbags, and road salt. No matter what happens on the asphalt, with these essential tools, you will be ready for just about anything.
- Perform Routine Auto Maintenance
Before winter hits, ensure that you perform essential car maintenance tasks. This includes checking your vehicle’s:
- Spark plugs
- Car battery
- Tire pressure and tread wear
- Hoses and fan belts
- General car fluids (antifreeze, oil, wiper fluid, etc.)
- Spare tire and tire jack
When in doubt, head into our Newton service center for your auto repairs, maintenance, and servicing. We specialize in Toyota maintenance, but our technicians are certified, trained, and experienced to service all vehicle makes and models.
- Adopt Good Winter Driving Habits
Adopting good winter habits can help you prepare for whatever the weather might toss in your direction. Always keep your gas tank at least half full; you will be able to keep your engine (and the heat) running in case you are ever stuck and stranded in a deep snowbank—something that Lafayette Township is notorious for having. You should also keep your windshield fluids full and wipers in good condition so you can easily clear snow and slush.
- Keep Your Eye on the Weather
If you are planning to drive in the snow, it is important to keep your eye on the weather for upcoming storms or snow. We suggest signing up for weather alerts on your smartphone. It is also essential to know how much snow is on the roads, as well as which roads are cleared before you head out for a drive. If the roads are particularly treacherous, leave for work early, and expect long delays on your way back home to cuddle with your cat (for warmth, of course).
- Give Yourself a Longer Distance to Brake
Because of the slippery surfaces, your brakes are not as effective as they are on pavement. Start your braking sooner than you ordinarily would to provide yourself with plenty of additional space if your ABS kicks in. If you’re new to driving in our New Jersey winters, try a gentle pressure technique when braking. Don’t worry—you’ll get the hang of it.
- Drive Slowly
When out on the road, it is important to drive slowly. If you are speeding and hit even the tiniest patch of black ice, your car can slip and slide, leaving you frantic and terrified. Additionally, your car takes much longer to slow down on snowy roads, and even longer when you are driving too fast. Remember, accelerating slowly is just as important as braking slowly when it comes to maintaining a high degree of traction.
- Clear Off Your Car Before Driving
If you notice snow or ice on your car, clear it off completely before heading back out on the road. Even though clearing just the area in front of the driver’s seat is tempting, it is dangerous for you and other drivers on the road. Blocks of ice and snow can break off and fly back as you drive, which can damage vehicles behind you. So, avoid a potential disaster by taking a few moments to clear that nasty ice-snow mix off!
- Keep a Survival Kit in Your Car
In case you are ever stuck in your car during a snowstorm, it is important to have a survival kit available. Some items that should be in the kit include:
- Non-perishable food (protein bars and nuts are great options)
- Water bottles
- Phone charger
- Ice scraper/brush
- Spare clothing
- Winter boots
- Road flares
- Jumper cables
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Multitool or Swiss Army Knife
If you’re ever stranded around Sparta, NJ and in need of a tow and auto repairs, be sure to contact Toyota World of Newton. We’ll happily send a tow truck your way and get you into our repair center.
- Remain Calm if You Get Stuck
Getting shipwrecked in a snowstorm is no fun, but you’ll have a much easier time handling the stress if you stay in your vehicle, remain calm, and follow the following tips:
- Call 911 and describe where you are stranded.
- Keep your engine running and open a window slightly to properly ventilate the cabin.
- Drink plenty of fluids (alternatively, ration your fluid and food properly if you expect to be stuck for an extended period).
- Use your car’s battery sparingly, such as for heat, phone charging, and to hear emergency weather announcements on the radio.
- Upgrade to a Newer Car
If you drive an older car, the risks of winter driving only increase. On the other hand, newer cars have more safety features that can prevent skidding, sliding, and collisions due to poor road conditions. Making the upgrade is a small price to pay for improved safety.
Lucky for you, some of the safest vehicles on the road are right here at our Toyota dealership near Sparta, NJ! With popular new Toyota models like the Camry, RAV4, and all-new C-HR, our selection is the perfect antidote for your winter-weather woes. Come take a test drive before the first snowflake falls for amazing seasonal Toyota deals. Contact us at (973) 459-4442 or swing by our Newton Toyota dealer at 66 Hampton House Rd to speak with our sales team. We’ll have you ready for winter just in the nick of time.