Winter Weather Parking Tips

Finding parking can be challenging for drivers at any time of year, but the winter presents special challenges because of the often-extreme weather conditions. Keep these tips in mind to keep from getting snowed in and stay mobile with as little difficulty as possible.

Be Prepared to Dig

Parking
outdoors on a snowy day can lead to having to dig your car out multiple times in the same day. Prepare by packing a scraper with a brush and a collapsible or telescoping shovel in the trunk. If you frequently have at least one passenger in your car, consider doubling up on digging implements to get the car out even faster. In addition, keep a container of ice melt in the back seat or trunk to guard against freezing during the evening.

Examine the
Conditions

If
you park in a wet area in the middle of the day, be aware that the water could easily freeze again by the time you return to your car hours later. Try to find a parking spot that is nice and dry; if the only option is to park in a puddle, sprinkle some ice melt around your car to ensure that you'll be able to get back in and drive away safely.

Watch Out For Covered
Signs

Parking
signs and meters are as vulnerable to being covered with snow as any other stationary object. If you see signs obscured by snow in an area where you would like to leave your car, take a moment to brush off the snow to make sure you can park legally. Otherwise, you may be ticketed or have your car towed, and saying that the signs weren't visible will not excuse you from paying a hefty fee.

Don't Use Your Parking Brake
 
While it's generally a good policy to keep using your parking brake throughout most of the year, when the temperature gets very cold, your brake can actually freeze in place. If this happens to you, you will be stuck until your car warms up sufficiently to thaw out the brake fluid. As such, try to park on level, ice-free ground where your car won't roll away without the brake engaged. If you must use your parking brake, be prepared for a delay if it freezes.

Keep Your Tank
Full

During
the warmer months, you can get away with letting your engine run on fumes, but in the winter you should try to keep the gas tank at least half-full at all times. If the fuel level is too low, you run the risk of returning to your parked car only to find that it won't start.

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