Winter is no laughing matter. Black ice, sheets of ice, snow, and white-out conditions all lead to accidents. Know what else leads to accidents? Auto repairs that were left undone before you hit the road to go over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house. Avoid the mayhem of an accident, and fix all of the following (if applicable) on your vehicle before you depart.
Brakes are an absolute must on winter roads. You need brakes all year long, that is true, but in winter, brakes help you stop on ice and snow, prevent you from skidding through slush, and (if you are on a dirt road) prevent you from spinning in the mud and/or gravel. The newest braking systems are equipped with extra traction protection, too. A button on your dash engages this extra traction in the braking system. You need all of the above to work before you travel more than twenty miles from home.
Tires, Wheels, and Axles
Tires should all have excellent tread. Wheels should not have any dents or problems either. Axles should be solid, and not rusted out or exhibiting unusual balance problems. Even if you do not have any problems with your car in these areas, it does not hurt to have them checked out and balanced anyway. If nothing else, buy a set of winter tires to throw on your vehicle if you are going to be driving through snow and ice for a hundred miles or more.
Losing control of your vehicle in winter is absolutely terrifying. You have no idea where the car is going to end up, and you are working against the vehicle and the elements to prevent a tragedy. A contributing factor in such accidents is the loss of one's transmission. This is especially true if you drive a manual, and the clutch was doing a few weird things before you decided to take a long holiday drive.
If your transmission bottoms out while you are on the road, you will lose all control over your vehicle, and there is not much you can do but wait for the car to stop moving. If your clutch or shifting between gears appears to be sticking or have slipping issues, get that repaired right away. Do not wait for the transmission to break and an accident on an icy road before you do anything about it.
For more information, talk to an auto repair service.