New Castle, PA (724) 658-5535 Beaver Falls, PA (724) 843-1087

Safe winter driving starts with layers of experience and caution. (Having the right auto insurance helps protect you from the elements, too.) Lowering your speed and maintaining a safe distance between vehicles increases precious seconds of reaction time if conditions quickly worsen or an accident occurs ahead of you. With time, you gain experience identifying misleading conditions (like black ice) and other drivers’ behaviors.

Vehicle maintenance provides another essential safety layer – so we called in some pros to share their best tips.


Tires: They’re No. 1 because good tires are the most essential item to maintain each winter. Your tire tread should be 6/32 or greater or they will have trouble keeping up with precipitation—meaning your tires won’t be able to contact the road, causing your car to hydroplane and possibly cause an accident.

If you need new tires, make them a priority before snow and slush become a permanent fixture on the roadways. Buy the best tires you can afford and consider snow tires if you travel in snow frequently. Tire pressures can fluctuate with temperature changes. Maintain tire pressure for vehicle control, and to get the best gas mileage in any weather conditions.

Wipers: Torn wipers cause major visibility issues. It’s best to use contour blades that have a metal band in them. Most newer vehicles come equipped with them. Old, traditional blades just don’t cut it in the winter.

Winter windshield washer fluid: Winter washer fluid tolerates much colder temperatures to prevent freezing. Try to use up any warm-weather windshield washer fluid before temperatures drop. It may not be able to handle cold temperatures, causing the washer fluid tank to freeze and crack. It’s also important to scan your windshield for any visible chips or cracks.

Don’t forget the basics: Take your vehicle for some routine scheduled maintenance like oil changes and tire checks, or do a little DIY if you’ve got the expertise. Be sure to replace dirty, worn cabin air filters and engine air filters. Many auto parts stores will check your vehicle’s battery life for free. If voltage is below the threshold for your vehicle’s battery, they can suggest for you to replace it before you’re stranded on the side of a cold road. Headlights make a big difference for safety, too.

Clean windows and mirrors: Having full visibility helps immensely when you need to keep your eyes on the road. Keep advanced safety systems clear of snow and mud to ensure cameras and sensors work correctly. A clean exterior keeps your forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB) and other features your vehicle may use reading their surroundings correctly.

Dirt, debris, snow and ice can get stuck under wipers and the hood. If these areas freeze because of blockages and buildup, water will run somewhere — most likely into the car where it can cause electrical problems, wet carpets, bad odors and rust.

Alignment: Vehicles need correct alignment for advanced safety systems to report correctly. You’ll see you need to align cars more frequently because of the safety Automated Driving Systems (ADS.) Many advanced safety systems use the steering angle sensor. An unaligned steering wheel positions your camera incorrectly, because it is based off of your car going straight. A slight miscalculation could lead you many feet off the road, so it’s especially important to have it right when conditions are difficult to navigate.

At The Kerr Agency, your road safety is very important to us. Call us at Beaver Falls (724) 843-1087/New Castle (724) 658-5535  or visit our website at discuss your auto insurance needs.