Winter car safety tips for Minnesota drivers

Some of the coldest temperatures on record have been reported throughout the state of Minnesota this winter. When faced with this type of extreme cold, being stalled along a roadway is not only an inconvenience, but also dangerous. When faced with below zero temperatures, Minnesota drivers would be wise to take extra precautions to ensure for their safety and those of other drivers and passengers.

Thankfully there are steps Minnesota drivers can take to prevent the likelihood of a car not starting or stalling. For example, parking a car in a garage can help shield a vehicle from the wind and accompanying frigid temperatures. In cases where a driver is not able to park a car in a garage or out of the wind, using an engine block heater may help ensure a car’s engine remains in working function.

According to officials at the American Automobile Association, battery failure is the number one reason that stranded motorists call for assistance. In extreme temperatures, even relatively new car batteries can fail. It’s wise, therefore to replace a car’s battery every three to five years. When faced with air temperatures well below zero, drivers may also want to take a battery inside for the evening.

Failing to fill up is another mistake drivers want to avoid when temperatures dip below zero. Gas can freeze in a car’s gas line which not only prevents a car from running, but may also damage a car’s engine or other essential components leading to costly repairs.

Even drivers who are prepared for the cold weather may be involved in a car accident. Frigid temperatures often create hazardous and slippery road conditions that make maneuvering and stopping a vehicle more difficult. Intersections are especially dangerous as drivers may be unaware of slippery conditions and unable to stop a sliding vehicle. Drivers involved in a car accident during extreme cold conditions would be wise to take measures to stay safe until help arrives.

Source: KMSP-TV, “COLD CAR CARE: 6 tips to keep motorists moving,” Shelby Capacio, Jan. 6, 2014