picture of a car driving in the snow

How To Winter-ize Your Vehicle

Preparing for Colder Weather

Winter: A time when your car won't start running and your nose won't stop. When temperatures drop, car accidents often rise, as does the importance of having the correct auto insurance.

Winter driving can be extremely dangerous for motorists and severely damaging to vehicles, so properly maintaining your vehicle is essential. On average, 1.3 million weather-related car accidents occur annually, accounting for 23 percent of all car crashes nationally and 480,000 injuries.¹

Always use extreme caution while driving and keep your autos fully insured are the best ways to stay safe on winter roads. Here are some things to consider when reviewing your auto insurance policy:

  • Who will be driving your vehicle during the winter months? Consider upgrading your auto insurance if an inexperienced winter driver — perhaps a teenager who has little experience in cold, icy conditions — will be behind the wheel.
  • How frequently will you be operating your vehicle(s) this winter? Reevaluate your car insurance coverage on any vehicle(s) that will be driven more during winter months when the most weather-related accidents occur.
  • In what condition is your vehicle? You may want to increase your coverage if you drive an older vehicle that doesn't have the most recent safety features, such as anti-locking brakes, all-wheel drive and traction tires. In addition, a pre-winter examination of your brakes and tires by a licensed mechanic is highly recommended.

In the event of a winter breakdown, Mercury customers can opt to add roadside assistance coverage to their policy, which is available for all customers as an optional coverage. Through GPS technology, the service can even identify the exact location of stranded drivers. This service is network neutral, meaning it will work with any phone regardless of carrier.

Here are a few winter driving tips in addition to maintaining the proper insurance coverage:

  • Winter driving precautions start before you ever get in the vehicle. Replacing old wiper blades, checking fluid levels (especially antifreeze and oil), rotating tires or putting on traction tires are essential to ensure your vehicle is ready for winter.
  • Do not drive distracted. Keep both hands on the wheel and stay off your cell phone. It's important you are alert and ready to react. Remember, you are 23 times more likely to get into an accident when you text while driving.²
  • Control your speed. Quickly accelerating or stopping means trouble when driving on ice-slick roads. The number one cause of winter accidents is trying to change speed or direction faster than surfaces allow.³
  • Always buckle up. It’s an old adage, but one that is still a requirement of the law in all states with the exception of New Hampshire, which doesn’t mandate seat belt use for anyone 18 years old or older.

1Ten-year averages from 2002 to 2012 analyzed by Booz Allen Hamilton, based on NHTSA data

2Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

3Colorado Department of Transportation