With winter fast approaching, it's time drivers get ready for the inclement weather ahead. This starts by getting a tune-up for your car, which is why NJ State Auto has its Total Car Care Center open for business. This garage can address any issues your ride may have, but it only represents the first layer of protection against getting stranded this season.
Expect the worst
If you're a driver in the Northeast, you know winters can be tough. That's why you have to prepare for the absolute worst conditions. Freezing temperatures are just the beginning – you'll likely also have to contend with heaps of snow, slush, icy roads and hail. Make sure your tires are up to snuff. Then turn your attention to windshield wipers, the HVAC system, the car battery and the engine – all of the parts that will be heavily affected by extreme weather.
Keep the essentials on hand
Part of your preparations should consist of putting together an emergency kit. While you should have some semblance of this in your car already, it's important to check in with your gear to ensure everything is still operating as it should.
"No matter what region of the country you live, State Farm encourages all drivers to stock their trunk with emergency kits to help if the unexpected happens," said John Nepomuceno, auto safety research administrator from State Farm. "Also, check to make sure all of your supplies are working properly. What's worse than a flat tire? Discovering your spare is flat too."
Some of the basics that all drivers should have include a spare tire, jumper cables, area maps, an ice scraper and brush and a flashlight. Those can help should your car run into trouble, but for human problems, be sure to have a first-aid kit as well. It can also pay to have a spare change of clothes in case the weather gets the best of you.
Invest in a few extras
The above only includes the basics that all emergency kits should have. If you really want to kick your preparations into high gear, consider adding some more specialized equipment. For example, having road flares and reflective road signs can help you out in the event you get stranded or need to do some emergency work on your car. Another winter staple is road salt. This is key for gaining traction on a slippery surface, but if you don't have any on hand, cat litter can serve the same purpose.