Can you believe it? The weatherman is forecasting snow. It seems like just yesterday that we had that heat wave. Now that snow, ice and single-digit temperatures are closing in on us, it’s important to review these common sense rules for winter driving and safety guidelines for dealing with winter road emergencies.
- If you didn't get around to preparing for winter before wet, cold or icy weather struck by performing a complete check-up of your vehicle, then there is no time like the present. Your auto tech will tell you that winter conditions present the greatest challenge to your vehicle’s operating efficiency.
- Before you start your car, move it out into the open to let it warm up, This way, you avoid exhaust build-up in your garage.
- Put a Winter Driving Kit in your vehicle and keep it stocked with: ice scraper, paper towels, a bag of sand, salt or kitty litter, snow brush, shovel, booster cables, warning flares, a flash light, window-washing fluid, a blanket, gloves and a spare cellular phone with extra batteries. You’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re prepared for an emergency.
- Frequently check your tires for proper inflation. If your vehicle owner’s manual does not specify, then ask your automotive technician about the proper inflation level.
- Make it a practice to keep your fuel tank at least half-full. This way, you will prevent gas-line freeze and you won’t likely run out of fuel in an emergency.
- Don't drive in bad weather if you can avoid it; but if you must drive, then try to be well rested and wait until snow plows and sand trucks have cleared the roads.
- When driving on wet, snowy or icy roads, don't use cruise control or overdrive. Both will diminish your full vehicle control in possible slippery conditions.
- Make sure you have the best visibility possible when driving in winter weather. Be sure that your seat and mirrors are properly adjusted, wear sunglasses to reduce glare and don't forget to buckle up.
- Don’t use your parking brake in cold or inclement weather, if at all possible.
- If you experience skidding on slippery roads, always take your foot off the gas pedal and steer in the direction you want to go to recover from the skid.
The key to safe winter driving is to plan ahead, know your vehicle and adapt to the weather and road conditions