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A day of sunshine and above-average temperatures don’t mean you’re out of the woods yet. Some areas of the country can face extreme cold weather into April while others could see a sudden cold spell. This means you should be prepared to handle the cold weather driving problems that come when temperatures drop. Here are some cold weather safety tips for drivers. Could these challenges apply to you?

Driving an EV comes with its own cold weather driving problems

The efficiency of your EV is directly impacted by the cold weather. All vehicles tend to perform worse when the weather drops, but electric vehicles offer the most extreme changes. Car and Driver tells us that low temperatures slow the battery chemistry, offering less energy for acceleration. Add the energy required to keep the cabin warm and the result is less driving range.

The best way to handle lowered driving range in your EV is to prepare for the decrease. Many EVs face up to a 19 percent drop in efficiency when the temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

What should you do about brittle windshield wipers?

Ways to defrost your windshield in the winter without using your car's defrosters
Frosted windshield | Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Your windshield wipers need to work properly at all temperatures and in all driving conditions. When you’re facing cold weather, one of the best safety tips for drivers is to be patient with your wipers. Colder temperatures can cause the rubber of wiper blades to become brittle, which results in tearing or cracking blades.

The solution to this problem is to buy more rugged winter wiper blades. Apart from this, it’s a good idea to be patient with your wiper blades by allowing your vehicle to warm up and the windshield to defrost before using the blades. Worn wiper blades are one of the most common cold weather driving problems.

Is the antifreeze in your car failing you during winter driving?

If your engine coolant is at an improper ratio or old, it won’t be as effective as it can be. Rather than face harsh winter driving with coolant that fails, this item should be flushed and serviced before the extreme temperatures arrive.

Unfortunately, many drivers assume adding 100 percent antifreeze to their radiator is a good idea. This is one of the worst cold weather driving problems and it’s created by the driver. Antifreeze has a higher freeze point when not mixed with water. If you add coolant yourself, be sure to use the proper mixture and avoid the antifreeze failing during cold weather.

Why do your tires look a little low when the mercury drops?

A black Ford F-150 pickup truck covered in snow, has a larger engine with more oil that might have problems in cold weather starting.
1988 Ford F-150 | Henry Cesari via MotorBiscuit

The air pressure in your tires is related to the exterior temperatures. As the air gets colder it contracts and your tires have less pressure. This results in underinflated tires, which is one of the most common cold weather driving problems.

One of the most important tips we can offer during cold weather to ensure the safety of drivers and others on the road is to check your tires regularly. If you drive a modern vehicle with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, you’ll notice alerts to add air to your tires more often when it’s colder outside.

Is thick oil one of the most common cold weather driving problems?

Yes, it can be. When the temperature reaches nearly 20 degrees below zero your oil pump could fail to pick it up because the oil is too thick. Oil becomes thicker as the temperature drops, causing problems for many drivers in cold climates.

The solution to this issue is to switch to either low-viscosity oil or synthetic oil for the winter. Synthetic oil provides better starting performance and flow at extremely cold temperatures, making it the preferred choice.

Next, check out what to do when you encounter snow plows, or learn more about cold weather driving in this video below:

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