7 On Your Side, Consumer Reports: Tips for safe winter driving

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We are lucky we are not on the East Coast right now. but if you head out to Lake Tahoe or another place with snow, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney has some tips on getting your car ready for safer winter driving. (KGO-TV)

We are lucky we are not on the East Coast right now. but if you head out to Lake Tahoe or another place with snow, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney and Consumer Reports has some tips on getting your car ready for safer winter driving.

Every year 200,000 car crashes happen in wintry conditions. Consumer Reports says one of the best way to stay safe on slick roads is to prep these things on your car.

"First, check the battery. Cold weather affects battery performance, so make sure the contacts are tight and free of corrosion. You should check your battery every four years to see if it needs to be replaced," Consumer Reports auto expert Nick Kurczewski said.

VIDEO: Driving on black ice: Tips for avoiding a hidden danger on the road

Also, while your hood is popped, top off your washer fluid. You'll need it to keep mud, salt, and ice from obstructing your view. Make sure you're using winter formula, so the tank and nozzle won't freeze. Now, check the the air pressure on your tires. Cold weather can decrease air pressure, which can affect your car's handling and traction.

Consumer Reports tire experts say you can check the treads on all of your tires using a quarter. If you can see the top of George Washington's head when you put it into a groove in the tread, it's time to consider buying a new set.

Winter tires might be a good investment. "Our tire tests show, winter tires provide an added margin of grip to stop, start, and corner far better than typical all-season tires on snow," Kurczewski said.

Consumer Reports' top picks for winter tires are the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2.

Consumer Reports also warns not to be lulled into a false sense of security with a car that has all-wheel drive. While four-wheel drive can help get your car going in snowy conditions, all cars have four wheel brakes.

Click here to find out more information on Consumer Reports' tire testing.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.

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