Com­mon sense still goes a long way

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

Win­ter weather is hard on your ve­hi­cle and its en­gine. Pre­pare for win­ter in the fall, by get­ting a com­plete check-up of your ve­hi­cle.

Your mo­tor needs a fully charged bat­tery to start in cold weather. Clean bat­tery posts and check the charg­ing sys­tem and belts. Have your bat­tery tested in the fall. Re­place weak bat­ter­ies be­fore they fail.

Ig­ni­tion

Re­place de­fec­tive ig­ni­tion wires, cracked dis­trib­u­tor caps and worn spark plugs, since they can make start­ing dif­fi­cult or may cause a sud­den break­down.

Make sure that all lights work and that head­lights are prop­erly aimed.

Check or ser­vice your brakes to en­sure even brak­ing. Pulling, change in pedal feel, or un­usual squeal­ing or grind­ing may mean they need re­pair.

When it comes to the ex­haust sys­tem, check for leaks that could send deadly car­bon monox­ide into your ve­hi­cle.

Check your ra­di­a­tor hoses and drive belts for cracks and leaks. Make sure the ra­di­a­tor cap, wa­ter pump and ther­mo­stat work prop­erly. Test the strength and level of the coolant/anti-freeze, and make sure the heater and de­froster work well.

Make sure that your wipers are in good con­di­tion. Re­place blades that streak. Pur­chase wipers de­signed for win­ter use. Fill up on win­ter washer fluid in the - 40° C tem­per­a­ture range and carry an ex­tra jug in your ve­hi­cle.

Bliz­zards

Bliz­zards are the worst win­ter storms. They can last six hours or more and bring fall­ing, blow­ing and drift­ing snow, winds of 40 kilo­me­tres per hour or more, poor vis­i­bil­ity and tem­per­a­tures be­low -10° C.

Snow and ice are more slip­pery at 0° C than at -20°C or be­low.

Heavy snow can bring 10 cen­time­tres or more in 12 hours, or 15 cen­time­tres or more in 24 hours.

Freez­ing rain or driz­zle can be­come an ice storm, coat­ing roads, trees, over­head wires, etc. with ice.

Watch for black ice at tem­per­a­tures be­tween +4° C and -4° C, where the road sur­face ahead looks black and shiny. It is of­ten found on shaded ar­eas of the road, bridges and over­passes long after the sun has come out.

Pre­pare for the worst

The safest strat­egy is to avoid driv­ing in bad weather con­di­tions. If you must drive, check weather and travel con­di­tions be­fore head­ing out. Give your­self ex­tra time for travel and, if weather is bad, wait for con­di­tions to im­prove.

Al­ways tell some­one where you are go­ing, the route you plan to take and when you ex­pect to ar­rive. If you don’t ar­rive on time, and peo­ple are wor­ried about your safety, they will know where to search for you.

If driv­ing be­comes too risky, turn back or look for a safe place to stop un­til it is safe to drive. Make sure you have enough fuel.

Try to keep the fuel tank at least half-full.

Be alert, well rested and sober be­hind the wheel and al­ways wear your seat belt.

When worn cor­rectly, seat belts save lives.

Lap belts should be kept low and snug over the hips, while shoul­der belts should al­ways be worn across the chest.

Chil­dren aged 12 and un­der should ride in the back seat, safely seated in a car seat or booster seat made for their size and age.

HANDY: A set of booster ca­bles al­ways makes for a prac­ti­cal and much ap­pre­ci­ated gift. Ca­bles ought to be part of your Win­ter sur­vival kit.

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