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AAA: How to winterize your car for cold weather

Follow these tips to have a safe trip as temperatures drop.

TENNESSEE, USA — Winter is here to stay in Tennessee and cold temperatures are hitting people at their front doorsteps.

American Automobile Association (AAA) wants drivers to be aware of a few tips to ensure safe travels on icy and snow-ridden roads.  

The company advises that drivers conduct a front-to-back assessment of their car to winterize it. People should check headlights and taillights for scratches and damage to make sure that their vehicle is visible to other drivers. 

Tennessee Auto Club Group (ACG) Public Affairs Director, Stephanie Milani, said it's essential that cars have enough windshield wiper fluid to help knock any debris from salted roads.

Next, drivers need to lift up their car's hood and check its battery, belts and hoses. Drivers should also keep an eye on their car's tire pressure and that it is up to the vehicle manufacturer's specifications. The specifications can be found on the driver's side door or in the owner's manual.

Milani said an emergency kit is an essential item that should be kept inside the car at all times. The emergency kit can help drivers whose car has broken down and are waiting for help. 

"If you do have to wait for help, you want to make sure you have a blanket, some warm clothing, some snacks and some water," Milani said.

Emergency kit items sample list: 

  • Small toolkit 
  • Sand or kitty litter to help car tires gain traction 
  • Snow shovel
  • Jumper cables 
  • Blanket
  • Warm clothing 
  • Water 
  • Food
  • Cellphone charger 

Milani said people should not get out of their cars if they become stranded in snow that is above their car's tailpipe.

"If you can, you do want to stay with your vehicle though. Getting out of your vehicle does make you more dangerous. You are somewhat contained and are safer in your vehicle," Milani said. "Those passing by cars, drivers can see you better if you are in your vehicle." 

Lastly, ACG advises that drivers never let their gas go below a quarter of a tank. 

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