What Auto Service College Students Should Know About Staying Safe During a Winter Breakdown
At the best of times, car breakdowns are stressful and time-consuming. But what happens if a driver experiences car failure during a cold Canadian winter? A winter breakdown is more dangerous due to a higher likelihood of extreme weather conditions and severe cold, and is therefore something that every Canadian should know how to handle—especially anyone thinking of becoming an auto mechanic.
Why Winter Breakdowns Are More Likely
A car is often more likely to break down during winter, typically due to battery problems. Exposure to cold weather makes it difficult for this device to stay charged as the extreme temperature negatively impacts the internal chemical process. The battery is even more likely to lose charge or die if the car has been parked outside in the cold for a lengthy period of time. Other car troubles commonly occurring in the winter include problems with fuel intake caused by damaged fuel injectors or pumps, or issues with locking systems. If you’re in auto mechanic school, it’s important to know what to do if a car breaks down as a result of any of the above issues.
Follow These Safety Steps During a Winter Car Breakdown
When a car breaks down in the winter, the driver may be faced with any number of challenging conditions such as heavy snow, low visibility, and extremely cold temperatures. With this in mind, it’s important to take the proper precautions so that the emergency doesn’t escalate. First of all, whenever driving anywhere during the winter, the car owner should always be prepared for whatever weather they might encounter by bringing extra layers such as a warm coat, gloves, scarf, and hat. It’s always a good idea to have non-perishable snacks in the car for emergencies, as well as a flashlight.
If a car breaks down in cold and low-visibility conditions, the most important thing to do is to try to get the vehicle out of the way of other drivers. Ideally, this would mean moving it to a parking lot or a rest area—but if the vehicle breaks down on the side of the road, it’s crucial to put on the hazards. If possible, the driver should be prepared by having warning triangles or flares in their car.
The next step students of automotive school should be aware of is the assessment of the situation. The driver should be advised to try to figure out exactly where they are. Did the car run out of gas, or are there strange noises or smoke? Once the driver is sure they’re stranded, they should make sure to call for help, locating the nearest roadside assistance service. If they’re in a remote area, they shouldn’t leave the vehicle, as this can be especially dangerous in colder temperatures. If the vehicle is safely off the road, they should try to stay in the car to keep warm while waiting for help to arrive. To prevent hypothermia, they should make sure to never, ever fall asleep while waiting.
Tips Those in Automotive School Should Know for Avoiding a Winter Breakdown
While a car breakdown can happen at any time, there are some preventative measures drivers can be advised to take to make the chances of a winter breakdown less likely. They should be told to check the coolant level of the car regularly, use an additive in the windshield cleaner to stop the jets from freezing up, clear snow off the vehicle as quickly as possible, and always pay close attention to the engine. Does it smell like burning or smoke? Does it make a strange noise when starting? Being observant and prepared throughout the winter can lower the odds of having to deal with a winter breakdown.
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