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Safe Winter Driving Starts with You. Try These Tips to Prevent Accidents on Metro Streets and Highways.

Even if you already own the best used car for winter driving, navigating snowy or icy roads in Kansas City can still be precarious, if not dangerous.

To stay as safe as possible, take steps to prepare for inclement weather before it ever begins - and fall is the perfect time to do it.

Follow these tips to ensure your used car is ready.

cars driving in the snow

Used Car Maintenance Requirements

Before any winter driving, your vehicle needs a little TLC. Performing regular maintenance is key for road safety. You should:

  • Get an oil change, if your vehicle is due. A pre-winter oil change ensures your oil is the right viscosity, or thickness, despite cold temperatures.
  • Get snow tires. Many used cars for sale in Kansas City come with all-season tires, which are suitable for driving no matter the road condition or temperature. For added safety, swap your all-seasons out for snow tires, which provide a better grip on the road in winter.
  • Refresh your windshield wiper fluid. Refilling your wiper fluid with a formula suitable for cold weather will prevent it from freezing.

Pack Emergency Supplies

Now that your vehicle is properly maintained, it’s time to ensure your own safety while driving. Pack and store a fully-stocked emergency supply kit in your trunk or cargo space. Your winter kit should include:

  • Blanket
  • Portable shovel
  • Kitty litter or sand, used to add traction under your wheels
  • Ice scraper
  • Winter boots, hats, gloves, and a spare coat for you and any regular passengers

Add these to your general emergency kit, which should include:

  • Portable jump starter
  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • Portable power supply for recharging your smartphone
  • First aid kit
  • Flashing LED light to mark your location
  • Non-perishable food and water
  • Spare tire, jack, and tire sealant
  • Duct tape
  • Basic tools

Follow Winter Driving Safety Tips

Now that your vehicle is stocked with an emergency kit, all that’s left is to master some safe driving techniques before you white-knuckle your steering wheel in a snowstorm.

The most important thing to remember is that driving during inclement weather can increase your risk of getting into an accident. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes happen on snowy, icy, or slushy pavement, and 15% happen while snow or sleet is actively falling. If possible, it’s best to delay driving until all roads are cleared.

Slow down when conditions merit it to help avoid sliding and skids. If you do begin to skid, take your foot off the gas pedal and steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go. You can pump your brakes gently, but don’t slam them, which will worsen the skid. If you have antilock brakes, you can gently apply your brake pedal.

If you find yourself stuck on ice and snow, follow these steps:

  1. Do not spin your tires by stepping on the gas. It will only dig you in deeper, or allow your used car to speed forward once you get traction.
  2. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times, which will push snow and slush out of the way.
  3. Use the shovel from your emergency kit to clear snow away from your tires or your vehicle’s undercarriage.
  4. Pour kitty litter in the path of the tires, which can help you get traction.
  5. “Rock” your vehicle, by shifting from forward to reverse, and back again, giving a light touch on the gas when it’s in drive.
  6. Put your automatic transmission vehicle in first gear, lightly applying the gas pedal, to slowly get out of the rut.

Buy a Reliable Used Car for Sale in Kansas City

The best way to prepare yourself for winter driving is to ensure that your vehicle can be trusted in all weather conditions. An older vehicle that struggles to start in cold weather, or one with mechanical issues that could leave you stranded on the side of the road are not ideal. The best used cars for winter are those that you can rely on to get you where you need to go.

You can find reputable used car lots around the city who offer vehicles at fair prices and don’t require credit checks to secure financing. Even if you have a challenged credit history, you deserve a vehicle that will keep you safe on snowy or icy roads.