Now that winter is here, many Colorado residents have resorted to using their old tactics to make driving in the cold more bearable. Some let their car warm up for minutes so they can either wait to enter a warm interior or so they can have an easier time scraping off all the snow and ice accumulated on their windshield.
However, some of the typical tactics used towards starting a car in the winter can have negative effects on the vehicle. If drivers are not careful with how they approach keeping themselves warm as they start driving, they could find themselves in a dangerous situation.
Do not leave your car alone outside
It's understandable under freezing temperatures why you wouldn't want to stay outside for too long to wait for your car to warm up. Some residents turn their car on, then go back inside and wait for a couple of minutes to go back into the hot driver seat. However, this behavior has led hundreds of people every year getting their car stolen right off of their driveway. Even if your neighborhood is full of nice, older citizens who wouldn't hurt a fly, thieves come at the most unexpected times. You're practically giving them a car that they do not have to bust the window or hot-wire to start.
Do not start the heater right away
Having the heater on immediately will not make the car warm up faster. Your engine is still cold as well and needs some time before the heater core can properly function. Most experts recommend at most waiting for your car to warm up between 30 seconds to a minute. How long it takes depends on how old the model is, but even vehicles from the 90s should not take too long to get the engine to the right temperature.
Do not keep your car idle for too long
While those that have to take off snow and frost of the vehicle may take a little longer, those who are just waiting before they drive in the cold should not wait for too long. Experts say that the heater operates faster when the vehicle is in motion, so drivers should not wait for 5 minutes to get the interior of their cars up to 80 or 90 degrees. Waiting around for too long could waste gas that you could have used to drive a mile or two. You already spend plenty in the winter months from holiday driving and traffic caused by hazardous weather.
Mistakes that people make when warming up their vehicles could have dire consequences. Someone may panic after seeing their gas is too low from their prior waiting, while others may be distracted trying to increase the temperature and hit someone in their panic. No matter what the cause is, Colorado drivers should be aware of their legal options in case they receive severe injuries from motor vehicle accidents during the winter months.