A good baseball team never shows up on the diamond without plans to deal with every contingency, and the same should be true when you take to the roads in winter. Winter driving can throw any number of curveballs at you, and going to bat without the proper equipment can have tragic results. As any major league team can tell you, however, the proper preparation can ensure that you’re able to meet any challenge and get home safely, hopefully without sliding.
Baseball players play on a variety of surfaces, from slick grass to loose sand and dirt, and they require special cleats in order to maintain their grip. Your car is no different, and in order to prevent yourself from unintentional sliding, it’s wise to start off with a quality set of winter tires. These will give your car the sure footing it needs to round the bases safely, but make sure to check the tread!
To keep you straight on the base paths, it’s recommended your winter tires have at least 6/32″ of tread depth. While it’s best to use a tread depth gauge to measure this, there’s a handy trick you can use with a simple penny. There are several tread grooves located across the tire. Insert the penny into a few of the grooves, and check how much of the design is covered. If the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back side of the coin is covered, your tires have more than 6/32″ of tread depth. If this isn’t the case with your tires, it may be time to make a call to the bullpen and get yourself some relief tires.
Proper tires are important, but even the most well-equipped car can run into trouble. In case you find yourself in a tight spot, make sure you’ve got a loaded bench to get you through. Stock your lineup with a solid roadside emergency kit that includes:
- Jumper cables
- Hand warmers
- Spare cell phone battery and/or a temporary power source using alkaline batteries
- Fix a flat (or similar)
- Snow chains, kitty litter, and a camping shovel aren’t a bad idea either
- If you need traction and don’t have chains or kitty litter, you can put your floor mats under your drive wheels (only you might need to buy replacement floor mats if you do)
Also make sure you have a jack and lug wrench handy in case you have to make that call to the pen!
Finally, make sure that you can see each and every pitch with a new set of windshield wipers. There are several options for winter wipers, including some that are heated to safely melt away snow and ice. There are also windshield wiper fluids which, once squirted onto the windshield, melt snow and ice and prevent vision-blocking buildup. Adding these or other similar items to your team will help guarantee you never strike out looking.
In baseball, as in winter driving, the goal is simply to make it home safely. By following these tips and taking the time to prepare your car and yourself properly, you’ll be rounding the bases with ease. Build yourself a championship team, improve your skills as a manager, and you’ll never strike out again!
Author Jason Lancaster often day-dreams of scoring the winning run while writing about high-quality parts and genuine Toyota accessories forParts.OlatheToyota.com.