When it comes to driving, you can never be too prepared. Dangerous road conditions and car breakdowns are inevitable at some point for all drivers. You can’t always control outside conditions, which is why it’s important to hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.
Make sure you have an emergency kit in your trunk for when the unexpected happens. You’ll want to include a blanket, some food and water, a first-aid kit, and some extra batteries, to start. You’ll also want to keep some tools and supplies on hand such as the following:
- Tire-pressure gauge
- Lug-nut wrench
- Rope or chain
- Duct tape
- Shop towels
With winter weather approaching, preparedness is more important than ever. You’ll want to make sure your gas tank is always at least half-full to prevent condensation from forming in your tank and freezing. Once this happens, blockages in your fuel lines can create problems with starting your car.
Despite the risk associated with keeping a low gas tank, especially in winter, a recent study shows that many Americans put off getting gas until the last minute. According to Esurance’s survey, 32% of drivers wait until their gas light turns on to fill up their tank.
Waiting so long to fill up is particularly risky in the winter as it increases the chances of getting stranded in harsh winter weather. According to the survey, younger drivers are less likely to keep their tank half-full — only 12% of drivers ages 18–34 fill up their tank at the halfway mark, compared to 51% of drivers ages 55 and up.
So why do people ignore the risks and wait until the last minute to fill up their tanks? The two main reasons are money and time. Thirty percent of respondents either didn’t have enough money for a full tank of gas or they wanted to search for cheaper gas prices. Another 26% said they were either too busy or inconvenienced by having to stop to get gas.
Here are some tips to help you get the best gas prices and be more proactive about filling up your tank:
- According to GasBuddy, Monday morning is the best time to fill up your tank because gas prices are cheap at this time. Avoid filling up on Fridays, as gas prices often spike due to weekend trips. For a complete list of the best and worst day by state, click here.
- Use apps and tools that help you find gas that’s cheap and close by. Fuelcaster is an online tool that predicts if gas prices are expected to rise or fall within the next 24 hours. It tells you if now’s the best time or if you’ll get a cheaper price by holding off until tomorrow.
- Consider a gas rewards card, especially if your lifestyle requires you to drive a lot. You’ll get cash back for every dollar you spend at the pump, but be wary of high interest rates and try to pay off your balance every month.
Karlie Kramer writes on behalf of Esurance on how to help make all things insurance-related surprisingly painless. Specifically, she’s interested in helping drivers stay safe on the road by providing simple tips on preparedness, gas prices, and more.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.