Tips for Being Stranded in the Wintertime

The worst has happened: you’re stranded in your car on the side of the road and it’s the dead of winter. Don’t panic… you’ve read these tips and are prepared to face any challenges.

Check your vehicle before driving.

If your battery is dying, more times than not it’s going to go dead in the winter. 

Winter is the key time for deteriorating batteries to go dead since the effectiveness of batteries drops when the weather does. Test your battery to be sure it won’t fail when you need it. 

Perform winter car maintenance.

Check your tires. It’s important to not overinflate your tires in winter. Overinflated tires are more likely to slide than those a bit underinflated. Slightly underinflated tires will offer better traction because more of the tire tread is on the road. But before you go deflating your tires, check the manufacturer’s specs or with your mechanic. This leads us to the next paragraph. 

Before the colder weather hits and the snow falls, take your vehicle to be inspected by a trusted mechanic who can help to field the bigger issues before they happen. Depending on your car, the mechanic may recommend a winter-friendly engine oil or recommend other repairs.

Stay safe while you’re stranded.

If you end up on the side of the road with a disabled vehicle, the first step you should take is to stay calm. Then, make a 911 call, gather your insurance policy paperwork, keep your seatbelt fastened, and put on your emergency lights. (To avoid an unfortunate situation where you don’t have a charged phone at the ready and your car’s battery is dead, make sure to prevent that from happening by investing in an inexpensive portable phone charger.)

Depending on the time of day, the earlier setting sun might mean that you’re less visible on the road. Ideally, you’ll have pulled your car off to a safe location away from oncoming traffic. If the roads are slick, you’ll especially want to stay away from oncoming traffic should a vehicle start sliding on the road and lose control. Don’t attempt to cross the road if you’re stuck on the side of a busy freeway—you’re far safer in your car. If you do need to inspect under the car’s hood or change a tire, make sure your car is pulled safely far away from the road.

Keeping a blanket or two in your car at all times is a simple, easy way to ensure extra protection in the case of being stranded in the winter. 

Emergency roadside kits are recommended. You’ve seen it when you’re driving. A car or truck that has a lit flare behind their vehicle is much easier to see. It can prevent a disaster. You can’t always avoid a breakdown, but you can be prepared in the event one happens. 

However, the best mode of prevention is staying in the car at all times and waiting for help.

Comprehensive, low-cost, automobile roadside coverage is also an important part of staying safe during an unfortunate breakdown. Call us at 1-800-464-3226 or send us a message to find out how GEBCO can help.