15 Ways to Prepare for Seasonal Driving Hazards

Photo by mkrberlin / Shutterstock.com

Fog, wet roads and glare can create road hazards that take even experienced drivers by surprise. Money Talks News consulted with an auto safety expert to identify some of the dangers during the season and the best ways to guard against them.

1. Beware animal magnetism

TessarTheTegu / Shutterstock.com
TessarTheTegu / Shutterstock.com

Raccoons, squirrels and other small animals seek heat under your car’s hood.

  • The problem: They chew hoses, make messes and otherwise damage your engine.
  • Solution: Hang netting full of mothballs under the hood of the car.
  • Tip: Place it away from the windshield wiper area so the smell doesn’t permeate the car’s interior.

2. Don’t reduce your tire pressure

Pakpoom Phummee / Shutterstock.com
Pakpoom Phummee / Shutterstock.com

Some drivers follow the old wives’ tale advice to reduce air pressure in tires during cold weather as a means of increasing traction.

  • The problem: While it might increase traction in some instances, it will cause undue tire wear when the weather warms.
  • Solution: Keep tire pressure at recommended levels.
  • Tip: Check your owner’s manual or the sticker on the vehicle door edge for those numbers.

3. Test battery strength

Monika Wisniewska / Shutterstock.com
Monika Wisniewska / Shutterstock.com

Most people don’t think about their car’s battery strength until it dies.

  • The problem: Batteries always seem to die at the worst possible times.
  • Solution: Take your car to an auto center, including AAA Car Care Centers, for a free battery check.
  • Tip: Do this before a long road trip.

4. Invest in windshield fluid

Mark Herreid / Shutterstock.com
Mark Herreid / Shutterstock.com

Some people try to save money by filling their windshield washer reservoirs with water.

  • The problem: It doesn’t properly clean the windshield and can freeze and destroy the reservoir.
  • Solution: Invest the few dollars in washer fluid.

5. Get serious about streaks

Indy Edge / Shutterstock.com
Indy Edge / Shutterstock.com

Many drivers accept wiper streaks as a normal part of life.

  • The problem: The streaks impair visibility, especially at night.
  • Solution: Take a clean, wet paper towel and run it down the rubber of the blades. That will remove dirt and gunk, increase the blades’ effectiveness and save you replacement costs.
  • Tip: Drivers in snowy climates may want to consider snow blades, which are designed so snow doesn’t build up underneath them.

6. Don’t use hot water to melt ice

Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com
Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

It’s common to see people dumping hot water on iced car windows.

  • Problem: The hot water can crack or at least weaken the auto glass.
  • Solution: Allow the car to idle for a few minutes until the car’s heat and defroster melt the ice, or until you can scrape it off.

7. Use snow scrapers for windows only

Roman Prishenko / Shutterstock.com
Roman Prishenko / Shutterstock.com

Many people scrape snow and ice off their car’s bodies.

  • Problem: Chipping away at ice will scratch your car’s paint.
  • Solution: Brush the snow off the car.

8. Consider a windshield cover

Siarhei Tolak / Shutterstock.com
Siarhei Tolak / Shutterstock.com

Some people, especially those who need to respond to emergencies, need to quickly remove snow and ice.

  • Problem: Driving with limited vision can put you at risk.
  • Solution: Windshield covers quickly remove all snow and ice.
  • Tip: Don’t forget to clear your other windows.

9. Fight fog

fi3 / Shutterstock.com
fi3 / Shutterstock.com

Fog on the inside of windows is tough to remove.

  • Problem: Foggy windows obstruct the driver’s vision.
  • Solution: Flip on your defroster and allow the car to warm up before driving.
  • Tip: Anti-fog wipes are available at auto stores.

10. Install a deer whistle

Tom Reichner / Shutterstock.com
Tom Reichner / Shutterstock.com

Deer-vehicle crashes generally occur from November through January in many parts of the country.

  • Problem: It’s difficult to see deer in the fall, when leaves change color and dusk arrives earlier.
  • Solution: Deer whistles cost less than $10. Stick a whistle to the front of the car and it will emit silent-to-humans sounds that alert deer to approaching vehicles.
  • Tip: There are no studies proving their effectiveness, but many drivers swear by them.

11. Keep your visor uncluttered

d13 / Shutterstock.com
d13 / Shutterstock.com

Glare seems especially harsh in fall mornings and evenings. Unfortunately, many people stuff papers and CDs in the windshield visors designed to help drivers block the sun.

  • Problem: The items fall out when you pull down the visor, creating a distraction that could lead to an accident.
  • Solution: Find other spots for those items.

12. Skip the sandbags

llaszlo / Shutterstock.com
llaszlo / Shutterstock.com

When rear-wheel-drive cars ruled the roads, it was common for people to weigh the back down with sandbags or put large amounts of snow in truck beds to boost traction.

  • Problem: Most cars are now front-wheel-drive, so the excess weight generally does nothing except lift the front wheels off the pavement, which makes it difficult to steer.
  • Solution: If you do weigh down a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, only use minimal amounts of extra weight. Otherwise, skip the extra weight.

13. Forget the fuel additives

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com
Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

Many drivers buy and use fuel additives that are not needed.

  • Problem: They waste your money and don’t solve any auto problems.
  • Solution: Discuss additives with a trusted auto technician before adding.

14. Keep the lights low

Nailia Schwarz / Shutterstock.com
Nailia Schwarz / Shutterstock.com

It’s tempting to switch on the high beams when fog descends and limits visibility.

  • Problem: The light from high beams will be reflected back by heavy fog.
  • Solution: Use your low beams, or if your car is equipped with fog lights or driving lights, use them instead. These lights are designed to project light down onto the road and illuminate roadside lines and barriers.

15. Invest in an emergency kit

Zurijeta / Shutterstock.com
Zurijeta / Shutterstock.com

We’ve all seen people stranded on the side of the road with no flares, signs or other equipment.

  • Problem: You don’t know what to put in a kit.
  • Solution: Buy one from AAA, Walmart or elsewhere. Or look at their kits and pack one yourself.
  • Tip: It’s better to have an emergency kit you never use than to break down and wish you had one.

Do you have any fall and winter driving tips for safer or problem-free travel? Share with us in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon
10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon

These freebies are available to anyone — no Prime membership necessary.

7 Gadgets Under $60 That Can Boost Your Health
7 Gadgets Under $60 That Can Boost Your Health

These Amazon finds can help ease foot aches, boost energy and even protect your heart.

7 Effortless Ways to Make Extra Money
7 Effortless Ways to Make Extra Money

In the digital age, new ways of earning cash crop up all the time — and some require next to no effort on your part.

11 Signs That You Chose the Wrong Place to Retire
11 Signs That You Chose the Wrong Place to Retire

Health and happiness in retirement rely on some key factors.

This Chase Card Is Great for Groceries and Cash Back on Everything
This Chase Card Is Great for Groceries and Cash Back on Everything

You could earn more than $600 cash back in your first year just from grocery shopping.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.