Best Advice for Winter Driving
That time of year is right around the corner, or even on your doorstep depending where you live. It can be sad to say goodbye to the warm weather and even worse when you think how difficult it is going to be to get around in your vehicle. Adding an extra 7-10 minutes every morning for your vehicle to warm up can make any people’s heart run cold, but other than the seasonal depression that winter brings there are some safety issues that come with driving also.
When driving in the winter your speed is very important, but maybe not in the way you think. Yes, what you’re thinking is my speed has to be slow, but almost as important as that is how consistent your speed is. When you pick up speed and brake consistently you are very likely to spin your wheels or slide over the snow when braking. Many people think that going fast up a hill or slow down one can give them more control, but this is actually wrong. When speeding up a hill your tires will spin and make your steering sub-par. When braking on a downslope there is a high probability that you will slide if you have any speed at all when you brake. We recommend starting a downslope with slow speed and taking your foot off the gas as you coast down the hill. When going up a hill you should keep your speed, and if possible it is better to speed up before the slope and take some perpetual motion up the hill as you keep the tires going a moderate speed.
We recommend heavily that you increase your following distance in order to keep safe this winter. When you follow closely in traffic it gives you far less time to react no matter the weather. This is more important on slick surfaces that are seen in the winter. The reason for this is because when you have less time to react to a slowing or braking vehicle in front it increases the likelihood that you will brake hard and cause an accident. We recommend at least 6 seconds behind in order to guarantee your safety.
If you know how your brakes reacted during times last winter that is great, and before assuming they will be as effective make sure that they are before going to stops at similar speeds as last winter. This is because your brakes will have worn some over the past 8 months and they will be less effective or more prone to locking up. When your brakes lock up in the winter this can be cause for accidents. We can guarantee that your trip to the mechanic to check your brakes will cost less than the trip to the auto-body shop after a crash.
We recommend a couple easy and affordable options this winter to guarantee you stay safe. The first is to get a CAA membership, because sometimes your battery will die late at night and there is no friend or family available to help. This leads to our second recommendation, that is to have some warm coats or blankets in a bag somewhere in your vehicle. This will ensure you can last the couple hours it may take for a tow or jump to get to you. You should also never use cruise control when on roads with any snow or ice this winter. This is because the vehicle cannot sense it has lost some traction as opposed to you when you try to accelerate or slow down. Lastly, let your vehicle warm up for about 5 minutes’ minimum in order to allow the motor oil to be warm before driving thus making sure all elements of the engine have lubrication before driving.