From snow tires to safety kits, how should you best prepare your car for winter?


ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s that time of year again to make sure your cars are properly prepared as the snow sticks and the roads freeze. Understanding what needs to be done to ensure the safest possible ride for when the roads get dicey is key.

Mark Mika, Manager of Road Service operations at AAA of Western and Central NY first recommends having a safety kit in your car.

“Top three things always start with a snow brush and a scraper um because we know things are gonna ice over and you wanna make sure you clear all the glass on your car…. an extra warm jacket just in case you’re stranded for an extended period of time in cold weather you wanna make sure you have a way to stay warm… and sometimes ya know a small shovel or some sand or grit that you can throw down just in case you get stuck on a surface that you can get yourself out of on your own.”

According to AAA, about 40% of Americans do not carry a winter safety kit in their vehicles. Some other items you can keep handy with you if you don’t are a flashlight or jumper cables. 

But, you should avoid jumping your car alone if you’re unsure of how to do it. Mark says it’s easy to do damage to sensitive parts with the new technology in cars these days, and services such as AAA and other local mechanics can easily provide the assistance for you to ensure it won’t die more than once, and leave you stranded.

“This time of year we see a lot of people coming in concerned about tires and concerned about batteries…” 

Choosing between four wheel drive or snow tires to get you through the snow? Mark says that a good set of all season radial tires with the proper air pressure and correct tread depth is still your best bet, but no matter what, it all comes down to HOW you drive in it, especially with sneaky hazards like black ice.

“…start accelerating a little slower, give yourself enough distance to stop, and making sure you’re aware of your surroundings and the surface of the road…”

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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