It’s official – winter is here, along with the snow, ice and cold temperatures that come with it. Driving your car can still be a pleasant experience with the right winter accessories!
Ice Scraper & Snow Brush
This one is a given for Maine – but did you know that the right ice scraper and snow brush could make a huge difference in the effort and time it takes to clear off your vehicle? If you drive an SUV, mini van or truck, consider a snow brush with a telescoping handle – it makes it easier to reach the middle and upper areas of the vehicle! A larger snow removal tool, like a Sno Brum, is made out of a material that won’t scratch your paint (like a brush could) and will clear snow much faster!
Hate to drive in a cold car? Want to stop getting bundled up to start your car 10 minutes before you want to leave? A remote starter makes those tasks a thing of the past. With a remote control, you can start your car from inside, letting it warm up and defrost before you get in. Not only does this save the discomfort of driving a very cold vehicle, but also saves you time!
Many new vehicles come with heated seats as an option, so this is something to look for when you’re shopping for your next car, but did you know that you can also add heated seats to most vehicles? Kits are available to add this option with a heated seat cushion that is powered by a cigarette lighter, making your commute toasty and warm – something especially important on those very cold mornings.
Winter weather is a different driving experience than summer heat and rain. Winter tires are different, because they have tread patterns that are specially designed to dig into snow and ice, giving you more traction. In addition, they’re made from a different type of rubber compound, since regular tires can get hard and brittle in cold temperatures. Making sure your tires have traction is critical to making sure that safety systems like antilock brakes and all wheel drive can do their jobs in inclement weather. Studded tires are also an option – these have small metal studs driven into the rubber to help improve traction on wet ice and hard-packed snow.
Winter Wiper Blades
Wipers should be replaced 1-2 times a year, or as soon as you notice a difference in how well you can see while driving. If you need to replace your wipers this time of year, winter wipers are a great choice. They are designed with a rubber or vinyl housing around the blade, meant to help withstand snow and ice buildup. When snow and ice builds up around the wiper, it doesn’t clear the windshield as well, which impairs the most important factor in winter driving safety – your visibility.
All-Season Floor Mats
If your car has cloth floor mats, considering all-season floor mats could be a smart move. Designed with deep grooves and a lip around the edge, these mats are designed to help trap salt, sand, snow, slush and water, preventing wear and damage to the carpet in your vehicle.
Having essentials at your fingertips can turn an emergency into an inconvenience. Look for a pre-packaged kit, or build your own – consider what essentials would be best suited for the space available in your vehicle and your typical commute:
- snacks like granola bars, nuts or raisins
- blankets or sleeping bag
- rope for towing
- salt, sand or cat litter
- flashlight with extra batteries
- emergency flares
- candles and matches
- extra hats, socks and mittens
- First Aid Kit
- booster cables
- hand and toe warmer packets
Windshield Washer Fluid Heater
This handy gadget, installed between your washer fluid tank and the washer fluid nozzles, warms washer fluid so that you can still clear your windshield in cold, snowy weather. It prevents clogging and freezing of washer fluid nozzles with ice, and also helps with wear and tear on your wipers.
Cell Phone Charger
If you are in an accident, see an accident, or go off the road, you will want to be able to use your cell phone to communicate to emergency personnel. When you’re in an emergency situation, it’s not when you want to be worried about a low or dead cell phone battery.