Driving during Indiana’s winters can create hazardous situations for you. Whenever possible, it is best to avoid road travel during periods of snow and ice, but as someone who commutes to work, this may not always be possible for you. You can help to reduce your risk of becoming stranded or involved in an accident by preparing your car to brave the elements. The following tips can help.

  1. Change your oil

Specifically, the next time you are due for an oil change, switch to a winter-grade oil with a lower viscosity. For instance, if you usually use 10W-30 in your vehicle, switch to 5W-30 during the colder months.

  1. Check your tires

Of particular concern are your tread depth and pressure. Traction becomes even more important when the roads are slippery. An easy way to check your tread depth is to stick a penny head down in the space between. Your tires need replacing if you can see all of Lincoln’s head.

To check your tire pressure, all you need are the instructions in your manual and a simple gauge. You can obtain air fill-ups for free at most service stations if your pressure is low.

  1. Update your windshield wiper fluid

Check the label on the bottle to see if it can withstand subfreezing temperatures. If you use the wrong kind of wiper fluid, you will know immediately the minute you try to use it because it will freeze to your windshield and obscure your vision.

  1. Prepare a winter survival kit

This is important to help ensure your personal safety as well as improving your car’s preparedness. You should contain some items that help you cope with weather delays, such as an extra ice scraper and a container of sand or gravel for traction. You should also include supplies that can help sustain you until help arrives if you get really stuck, such as extra warm clothes and blankets, water and high-energy snacks, a first-aid kit, flashlight and road flares. Keep your cell phone charged at all times in case you need to call 911.