Driving safely during winter conditions:
W. Union – Jay Schwamman owner of Jay’s Auto in W. Union has plenty of advice to give drivers on driving safely during winter conditions. Schwamman has been a mechanic for approximately 25 years. After High School, Schwamman attended NIACC out of Mason City taking a 2 year tech program. He worked for independent shops at the beginning of his career. Learning that there was a need for a mechanic in the West union area he decided to open his own repair shop outside of W. Union.
As of October 20th Jay’s Auto has been in business for 9 years. Schwamman works on any make, model, import or classic vehicle. He does everything from light truck and auto repair to more complicated engine and transmission repair. Not only does Jay’s auto do mechanical work on vehicles, he also buys automobiles. Everything that he sells is thoroughly inspected before going out on his lot. He usually has between 10 and 20 cars for sale as well as locating vehicles for his customers. Schwamman has also been on the Fire Department for about 20 years and donates cars that he considers unsafe to the fire department for usage on Jaws of Life extrication.
With all of this knowledge Schwamman has plenty of advice for winterizing a vehicle for safe driving during the cold winter months, as well as what one should carry in their vehicle in the case of an emergency. He even has advice for pet safety when traveling with pets.
As far as winterizing a vehicle, Schwamman says that most of these suggestions are obvious.
• Make sure all lights on the vehicle are working.
• Wear seat belts that work properly.
• Make sure wind shield wipers are working.
• Check tires and tire pressure.
• Check your antifreeze.
• Make sure your heater system and defrost are working properly.
• Make sure you can see others and that others can see you.
• Check your brakes.
• Make sure your car battery is fully charged and trustworthy.
• Make sure you have a full tank of gas.
• Have a good pair of jumper cables in your car.
• Drive the speed for the conditions of the environment.
• Put gifts and other items in the trunk so if there is an accident, debri isn’t flying around the vehicle. Do not put these things or other things in the passenger side.
• Finally and the most obvious is to not text or talk while driving.
In case you do become stranded Schwamman suggests that you always carry these items in your car.
• A heavy blanket.
• A flashlight.
• A fully charged cell phone and a phone charger.
• Always let people know your destination and an approximate arrival time.
As for pets, Schwamman suggests putting them in a pet carrier, so they do not interfere with your driving. He also suggests bringing plenty of food and water for your pet and reminds pet owners that pets need a break from long distances of travel also. Bring a leash and let the pet out of the pet carrier for exercise and potty breaks.
Schwamman reminds everyone that even he can’t be right all of the time with a vehicle inspection which makes it even more pertinent that one takes their time going over proper winter vehicle inspection.