With winter approaching, the first step to preventing unnecessary incidents is to make sure equipment is ready for that first unexpected freeze or storm.

Check These Essential Items:

1. Radiators – make sure there are no leaks and have proper winter coolant.

2. Tires  – balding tires reduce starting traction by 30-50% – be sure to have good tread depth.

3. Wiper blades  – should be in good condition to sweep snow and sleet off the windshield. If new blades are installed, check the arm pressure to ensure effective operation.

4. Heater and defroster – make sure they are functioning correctly – when functioning at their full capacity, will keep your windshield clear and you and your passengers warm.

5. Lights  – important in winter weather to ensure that you are clearly visible to other drivers. Be sure both headlights work on upper and lower beams and are correctly adjusted. Check that stop, tail, clearance lights and directional signals work properly and are clean.

6. Brakes – make sure they are in top condition to provide uniform braking.

7. Muffler and exhaust system  – should be in good condition and tightly fitted so carbon monoxide does not seep into the interior of the vehicle where it could cause serious illness or death to the driver or occupants.

8. Battery – cold weather lowers battery power – make sure yours is in good condition, and in case it is necessary, know the proper procedure for using a booster battery.

9. Fifth Wheel Lubrication – for tractor-trailer combinations, make sure a winter grade of lubricant is used on the fifth wheel. Some heavy summer grades of lubricant at low temperatures become too heavy and interfere with steering on slippery surfaces.

10. Windows and mirrors – windows should be cleaned to ensure good visibility. Mirrors also should be kept adjusted and clean for good visibility to the rear.