Unprecedented weather conditions give us the benefit of hindsight. How prepared were you? Did you plan for the unexpected? It's paradoxical, of course, why would you plan for the unexpected? Better question is why wouldn’t you? Let us help you with a good lesson with some easy exercises.
Your tires are your first line of defense against winding up in a ditch or trunk-deep in a poor stranger's car. Driving on ice is bad, driving on ice with balding tires is worse. Tires with good tread can help you grab any friction that's left on the road, even in icy conditions. In a pinch, snow and dirt can even provide a little traction, but only if your tires can grab it. Extreme weather, hot or cold, is equally unkind to your tires themselves, causing wild swings in air pressure and potentially making rubber brittle and prone to damage.
Heat & A/C
Your car is a second safe haven. Losing access to heat and A/C in your home may mean you have to transition to your vehicle for your own health. You can see how it's vitally important that your heat and A/C be in working order, especially here in the south where weather can vary wildly even week to week. Don't underestimate your vehicle's ability to keep you safe.
One of the most common extreme weather failures is your vehicle's battery. Most car batteries have a lifespan of about five years (less if extreme weather or hard driving is common). It's a good idea to get your battery checked out regularly. All of the maintenance in the world won't help you if your car won't even start.
Your engine oil does more than lubricate moving parts, it also helps to regulate the temperatures inside your engine. As oil gets old and dirty, it gets thick and less able to absorb heat from the engine, or move heat into it. Not only that, but thicker oil does a bad job at lubricating your engine. Overall, the worse it gets, the worse it gets. Old oil will get exponentially dirty, and exponentially bad at doing its job. Maintaining a regular oil change schedule can save you a lot of headache, and potentially a lot of money in future repairs.
We often overlook our windshield wipers until they're really needed. You may have experienced that recently. What may seem minor can make a huge difference when watching out for road hazards becomes a primary concern. If your wipers leave streaks during normal use, it's time to change them.
In summary, it's all about regular maintenance. It starts to sound like a broken record at times, but even bare minimum required maintenance can potentially save your life. It's a terrible way to find out how underprepared you are for disaster, but hopefully we can all learn something from this. Don't get caught out in the cold or the heat with no contingency plan. Stay safe, stay dry, and take note of the easy things you might be able to do better in the future.
On that note, it's time to make my own list.