Car Safety Checklist to Winterize a Senior's Vehicle
Winter is making its return to many parts of North America. Ice, snow, and cold temperatures can be hard on a vehicle. While many families take steps to help an older loved one prepare their home for winter, winterizing the car is sometimes overlooked. Even if the senior doesn’t drive all that often, it’s important to complete a winter readiness check.
Senior Drivers & Winter Weather: A Car Safety Checklist
Use this safety checklist to help prepare a senior loved one’s car for winter weather:
- Have a mechanic check the brakes and the exhaust system: No one wants to be stuck trying to navigate a snowy parking lot or highway only to discover that their brakes are failing. Also, have a professional check the exhaust system for carbon monoxide leaks. This is necessary any time of year, but it is especially important in the winter when the car windows are kept closed.
- Test the heater, defroster, headlights, and taillights: Drivers count on all of these vehicle features to work well on cold winter days. Since there are fewer daylight hours during winter, making sure no lights are burned out is vital.
- Inspect and check the tires: Tire tread depth and tire pressure are two additional items that need to be inspected on a senior loved one’s vehicle. The penny test is an easy way to determine the status of the tire treads. Refer to the vehicle owner’s manual to see what the recommended tire pressure is. It’s best to replace aging tires before the snow falls and roads become hazardous.
- Replace or refill fluids: Coolant, wiper fluid, and oil all need to be refilled or replaced. If you aren’t experienced, this is one task best left to professionals.
- Purchase an ice scraper: Most people who live in colder climates will battle ice or snow. That’s why it’s important to have a sturdy scraper to remove ice and snow from the car’s windows. One that also has a brush to dust off snow is best.
- Create a winter safety kit: Keep a winter safety kit in the backseat with essentials the senior might need. While no one likes to think the worst will happen, it’s best to be prepared. A flashlight, a battery-powered cell phone charger, blankets, flares, candles, matches, protein bars, and bottled water should all be in the bag. A change of clothing, boots, and essential medications are also items to consider adding.
Winter Safety Reminders for Seniors
Here are a few additional tips senior drivers should keep in mind during the winter months:
- Keep your gas tank at least half full when you are driving during the winter. Should you need to pull off to the side of the road, having enough gas will allow you to turn your car on every 30 minutes to stay warm.
- Watch the weather report. Even a quick trip to the grocery store can turn hazardous when a winter storm blows through.
- Stock your refrigerator, pantry, and medication cupboard. Seniors don’t want to be forced to drive on a cold, snowy day. That’s why it’s important to keep an adequate supply of food and medication on hand. Don’t forget to do the same for your pets, too.
- Explore alternative transportation options. Ridesharing services and local Dial-A-Ride programs can help older adults limit driving during the winter.
Let Sunrise Do the Driving
Sunrise Senior Living communities have regularly scheduled outings to shopping centers, grocery stores, pharmacies, and other area destinations. Personal transportation to and from physician appointments can also be arranged. Learn more by visiting a Sunrise near you today.