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The winter weather has started and for most of us, it will be here a while. Driving in the winter weather has always left me a little uneasy, mostly because I was never fully educated on how to prepare for it. I had so many questions on how to prepare for the snowy, icy weather. Thankfully this year I partnered up with MetLife Auto & Home® who has helped make this process a lot less stressful.
Though the weather outside may be frightful—you, your home and your car can still be winter-ready. Prepare major investments, including your car and home, before weather becomes too large of a factor. Here are some great tips from MetLife Auto & Home® to help you stay ahead of what may come:
Around the House
Stay inside during a severe winter storm. Once the weather has passed:
- Clear sidewalks and driveways: Remove snow with a shovel or snow blower as soon as possible to prevent an icy layer from forming on the pavement. Next, sprinkle the area with deicer to keep ice from building up.
- Remove snow from the roof: Layers of fluffy snow can absorb additional sleet or rain, creating the risk of roof collapse. Stand on the ground and remove excess snow from roofs, small sheds and pool covers with a snow
- Prevent ice dams: Snow that melts and then refreezes on a roof can cause leaks and unseen water damage in your home. Place assembled ice melt socks every 5 – 10 feet to control runoff and prevent ice dams from forming.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, on average, more than 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 injured each year from winter weather-related crashes. Take precautions before driving:
- Top off windshield washer fluid: Add a stronger winter cleaning variant to quickly clear away road grime, snow
- Remove snow or ice from car windows: Several states require all snow and ice to be removed from vehicles before traveling on the road. Removing all snow and ice from a vehicle will allow proper visibility and protect the
- Fill your tank: Keep the gas tank at least half full during cold weather months to help prevent fuel lines from
- Stock an emergency kit: Stash these suggested items in the trunk before traveling.
- When purchasing winter tires, replace all four tires. Due to the different grip capabilities of summer, all season and winter tires, the driver will not get all of the handling and traction benefits if all tires are not replaced.
- Examine tread: The only part of a vehicle to touch the road is the tires, and tire tread is a vital part of handling, cornering, accelerating and braking. For winter weather driving, a general rule is the more tread depth, the better. A tire’s minimum tread depth should be more than 2/32 of an inch deep all around the tire. Drivers can check tread depth by using a U.S. penny. Insert the edge of the coin into the tread with Lincoln going in headfirst. If the top of Lincoln’s head is covered by tread that means there is at least a minimum acceptable amount of tread; if the top of his head is visible at any location on the tire, the tire is worn out and it’s time to replace it. For winter driving in adverse conditions, your tires should exceed the minimum tread depth standard. While examining the tread, also look for signs of uneven wear or damage such as cuts, cracks, splits, punctures and bulges. These conditions shorten the life of tires and, if not corrected, further tire damage, tire failure or air loss may occur.
- Test air pressure: Tire pressure plays a critical role in the overall performance of tires. Under inflation creates excessive stress on the tire, while over inflation can cause uneven wear in addition to handling and braking issues. Tire pressure decreases by about one pound per square inch for every 10-degree drop in outside air temperature, so it is vital that drivers check the air pressure regularly as winter weather approaches. Drivers should follow the guidelines found in the vehicle owner’s manual or tire placard (or sticker) attached to the vehicle door edge to determine the correct air pressure for their vehicle’s tires. A common myth is that the tire pressure listed on the sidewall is the optimal pressure, while in reality it is the maximum pressure.
- Air pressure should be checked when the tires are cool, meaning they are not hot from driving even a mile.
- Should any of these checks reveal the need for required maintenance – or when in doubt about the condition of their tires – drivers should take vehicles to a tire dealer for a professional inspection.
On the Road
Stay off the road when winter weather strikes. If you absolutely must drive, do it as safely as you can:
- Adjust your speed: Posted speed limits apply to ideal driving conditions. Drive slowly and carefully, increase following and stopping distances, and change lanes with care.
- Keep calm: Remain calm if you’re stuck in a snowbank or stranded by the side of the road. Call 911 and stay with your vehicle while waiting for help.
- Pay attention: Snowy and icy conditions require that you concentrate on the road, instead of search for that elusive game on the radio or the playlist on your iPod.
- Watch for black ice: Ramps, bridges, overpasses and underpasses are the first areas to freeze, and the last to thaw. Know what to do if your car starts skidding on black ice. Find out how to stop the slide and get home safe with this video: Emergency: How to Deal with Black Ice on the Road.
Did you know? By purchasing home or auto insurance through your employer’s benefit program, you could save money by taking advantage of group discounts. If your employer offers access to MetLife Auto & Home’s group insurance program, you could receive special savings – others who switched saved an average of $466/year!*
*Savings based on our 2014 countrywide research of new call center customers’ annual average savings in 2013.
MetLife Auto & Home is a brand of Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company and its affiliates: Economy Preferred Insurance Company, Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company, Metropolitan Direct Property and Casualty Insurance Company (CA Certificate of Authority: 6730; Warwick, RI), Metropolitan General Insurance Company, Metropolitan Group Property and Casualty Insurance Company (CA COA: 6393; Warwick, RI), and Metropolitan Lloyds Insurance Company of Texas, all with administrative home offices in Warwick, RI. Coverage, rates, and discounts are available in most states to those who qualify.
* This is a sponsored post on behalf of MetLife Auto & Home and Simply Real Moms. Opinions are our own.