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Driving to see relatives for the holidays?

Here are some tips from Prince William County Fire & Rescue for getting the most from your vehicle and staying safe over the holidays and during the winter:

Winterize Your Car
• Battery and Charging System, Cables, Terminals, Drive Belts and Engine Hoses: Have a certified technician check these items to prevent the risk of breaking down.

• Tire Type and Tread: All-season tires work best in light to moderate snow conditions; however, snow tires on all four wheels are the best for winter traction.
Tires should have 3/32 inches of tread; anything less should be replaced.

• Tire Pressure: Check tire pressure frequently during winter months. As the temperature drops, so will the pressures in the tires so refill as needed.

• Air Filter: Check the engine’s air filter. If you can see through much of the filter, it’s still clean. If not, it’s blocked, and needs replaced.

• Coolant levels: Ask your technician what antifreeze should be used for your vehicle and the appropriate coolant to water ratio to prevent against corrosion and potential freezing.

• Lights: Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, emergency flashers, turn signals, brake lights and backup lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.

• Wiper Blades: Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots. Consider installing winter wipers to prevent ice and snow buildup on the windshield.

• Washer Fluid: Fill the windshield washer reservoir with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze components for cold weather use.

• Brakes: Have your brakes inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order.

• Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids: Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.

Carry a Winter Driving Survival Kit
• • Flashlight with fresh batteries
• • Blankets
• • Booster Cables
• • Ice scraper
• • Small bag of abrasive material, such as sand or cat litter
• • Cloth or a roll of paper towels
• • Small shovel
• • Cell phone
• • Can of de-icer
• • Warning device, such as flares or reflective triangle
• • Basic Emergency Kit Supplies

Winter Driving Safety Tips
• • Leave earlier for your destination.
• • Use main roads or arteries whenever possible.
• • Use your knowledge of the area to your advantage.
• • Expect traffic to travel at a slower pace.


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