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November 2019

Keep these must-have items in your trunk this winter

The cold winter months bring many safety risks, especially on the roads. Whether they’re driving long distances or taking a quick trip, let your policyholders know about these must-have items to keep in their trunk.

  • First-aid kit and essential medications
  • Non-perishable food and bottled water
  • Wool blanket and extra clothing, such as gloves, pants, coat and snow boots
  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • Extra de-icing windshield washer fluid
  • Heavy-duty compact shovel that can dig through ice
  • Jumper cables to help revive a dead battery
  • Rock salt to melt ice
  • Reflective triangle or flares

While these items are important in case of emergencies, safeguarding vehicles before winter approaches is also important.

  • Check the battery. A service department should be utilized to check how much life is left in the battery and ensure there is no oxidation build up.
  • Check the mileage/date since the last oil change. Typically, oil changes are required after 3,000-5,000 miles to prolong the life of the vehicle. Consult the owner’s manual for your car’s best maintenance practices.
  • Check other fluids. The owner’s manual will state how frequently radiator flushes are recommended to best prevent engine issues while traveling. Before leaving the driveway, also check and refill windshield washer fluid if necessary.
  • Check tires. Tire pressure can significantly decrease because of the cold winter air, sometimes as much as eight pounds. Regularly check tire pressure along with tire tread.
  • Check wiper blades. Wiper blades should be checked frequently and replaced if needed.
  • Check belts. Replace worn, frayed or cracked belts before they break or cause a breakdown.
  • Check the alternator, starter, brakes, heater defroster and exhaust system. All should be in working order to help prevent engine issues or breakdowns.
  • Keep the gas tank full.
  • Scrape ice and snow off all windows.
  • Add weight to the trunk. Cargo that won’t easily shift in the trunk will decrease chances of fishtailing, increase traction and prevent tire spinning.

These simple practices could prevent potential accidents, breakdowns and keep your policyholders safe and out of the cold. Contact your workers’ compensation safety and loss control consultant for more information.