Don’t Forget Your Car!

By Lina Younes

Today we got the first snowfall this year. It was not a severe storm. In fact, near my home it was only about two inches, but it was enough for schools in our area to start two hours late. Since the snow was dry and powder-like, the process of clearing the entrance, driveway, and cars was not difficult at all.

Given the snow forecast last night, I thought I had taken the necessary steps to prepare for whatever nature would bring. I had the necessary supplies at home. Yesterday, I also decided to fill up my car with gas so I wouldn’t be stranded at home in the event of a severe snowfall. I had learned from my experience last summer when an unexpected storm left our area without power for several days and virtually no operating gas stations near our neighborhood. So, I thought I was totally ready this time, but not.  As soon as I started driving this morning to take my daughter to school, a light came on in the car:  “low washer fluid.”  Yikes!  Even though the sun was shining bright this morning, some of the melted snow and de-icing substances on the road were splattering on the vehicle, so filling up with windshield washer fluid was in order as soon as I dropped my daughter at school.

So, here are some tips as to what you should do to winterize your vehicle during this season in order to stay safe.

  • Check your air filter and fluid levels.
  • Check the tread wear on your tires and make sure they are properly inflated.
  • And, as I was reminded today, have plenty of windshield washer fluid!
  • Check the condition of your windshield wipers, too.

If you are on the road a lot or live in an area prone to snow and ice storms, consider having non-toxic de-icing substances such as clean clay cat litter or sand in your trunk, a shovel, a flashlight and a first aid kit for emergencies. I hope you don’t have to use them.

Do you have any emergency tips that you would like to share with us?

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.