The number one thing you need for winter driving is a Subaru Outback. Don't have one? Crap...that was pretty much the extent of my post for this week. ::whistles and backs out of this post:: If you aren't "lucky" enough to have an 11 year old beat to shit Subaru like myself ::touches my pearls and tiara:: there are still things you can do to make sure that you will be safe driving this winter.
Please DO NOT comment on this post that you grew up in Nebraska and can drive in any kind of weather and that Seattlelites are a bunch of pusses once a hard frost hits. First, you're right about Seattlelites being pusses in the snow. BUT, more importantly if you haven't driven in Western Washington snow, by all means, please go ahead and drive in it. The rest of us will be at the bottom of Seattle's Queen Anne Hill laughing our asses off while the local news channel records your car sliding sideways and backwards before crashing in to the sign with the blinking light that says "road closed due to ice". Because snow is snow is snow, but ours is heavy/wet snow that freezes over each night and turns the road in to a constantly evolving sheet of ice.
Many people in this area have snow tires that you can legally have on your car for 6 months out of the year. I've seen a ton of snow tires on our local freecycle, so if a new pair isn't in your budget, buying them isn't the only option. Me? I don't have snow tires, but my car has good quality all-weather tires, and all wheel drive (love. It's what make a Subaru and Subaru). So far, I've been ok.
You can also purchase (or find them on Freecycle) chains, but the drawback to chains is that you have to know how to put them on. Meh.
If you drive a rear-wheel drive or lightweight vehicle, get a few 45 pound sandbags from a hardware store, and throw those in your trunk. It will help weigh down the car and could get you out of a few potential dicey slippery turns this winter.
Winter is not the time of year to skimp on oil changes and routine maintenance. Keep your oil "fresh" and your windshield wiper/deicer fluid topped off. I don't change my own oil, and the place where I get it done tops all of those fluids off for free. I take advantage of that and make sure that I'm never low on things that can get me out of a jam.
Before the shit gets real, have your tires rotated and checked over. My family are die-hard Les Schwab tire store fans (free promo courtesy of me) and they will do all of that jazz for free. With a smile. And free popcorn for those who want it.
When the forecast is calling for crappy weather, I make sure my gas tank is full and ready to go. The last thing you want to happen is to run out of gas in horrible weather.
Year round, I keep a big picnic blanket and an emergency supply kit in my trunk. The blanket is water-proof on one side, and warm fleece on the other. The emergency kit contains a fire extinguisher, flashlight, foil blankets, bungee cords, and a handful of other items.
|From the left - my bag of grocery bags, water, blanket, and emergency kit|
|Ice scraping mitt|
|Snacks, baby wipes, first aid kit, ice mitt, and umbrella|
Drive safely my friends!