Fall and Winter Driving Tips
Are you ready for fall and winter driving? Changing leaves and snow days can be exciting, but also bring about new dangers for drivers. To keep you and your loved ones safe this season, there are special circumstances to remember when driving in the colder months. More accidents happen in the winter and fall because drivers ignore safety precautions. Here are some tips and important guidelines to follow to prevent common accidents:
Tips to Remember for Fall and Winter:
1. Check your tires. Your tires should be properly inflated, balanced, and have enough tread to avoid loss of traction. Cold weather and temperature fluctuations can decrease tire pressure. Keep a tire pressure gauge handy in your vehicle at all times and check frequently. If you can, invest into some winter tires.
2. Make sure your car is prepared for the drop in temperatures. Check coolant and other fluid levels and keep windshield washer levels filled.
3. Keep your windshield clean and ice-free, check and replace wiper blades if needed.
4. Slow down! Make sure you leave yourself room to stop, especially on slick or icy roads.
5. Know how to recover from a skid. The chances of getting into an accident are reduced if you know how to control your vehicle in a skid. This depends on your tires, brakes, if your car is front or rear wheel drive, and is dependent on your vehicle make and model.
6. Keep your lights on for visibility.
Fall Driving Tips:
1. Be aware of school buses and children. Follow the laws for school zones in the mornings and afternoons, and never pass a school bus with red lights that are flashing. Be mindful of trick-or-treaters at Halloween and carolers in December, especially in neighborhoods, around schools, and churches.
2. Leaves on the ground can become slippery when they get wet or can conceal poor road conditions. Patches of leaves can freeze as the temperature drops and turn icy, creating a road hazard.
3. Rain and sleet can turn icy as the weather changes, always be cautious not to drive too fast for weather conditions. Turn your lights on and drive slowly in fog- headlights on low beam increases your visibility of the road, high beams will distort it.
4. Deer collisions increase drastically during the colder months, be sure to slow down in areas with deer crossing signs and if you see deer near the road. Deer can move quickly and unexpectedly, slowing down, turning your flashers on for other cars, and watching both sides of the road will help reduce your chance of hitting a deer.
5. Drowsy driving incidents increase, as the days grow shorter, especially around daylight savings time. Be aware of your alertness, and take extra precaution with other driver- never drive drowsy, pull over and find a safe area to sleep or until you become alert.
Winter Driving Tips:
1. Know your route and be aware of weather conditions. Sudden winter storms may leave you unprepared and stranded. Check with your local department of transportation or your current weather conditions before making any extended trip, even your daily commute. Plan for adequate time to reach your destination so you don’t have to rush.
2. Keep and emergency kit in your car that includes a windshield scraper, flashlight, matches, lock deicer, water and food, and blankets. Always have a pair of sneakers or old shoes in the car, especially if you wear dress shoes or high heels to an office. Carry a properly inflated spare tire, jumper cables, and tow and tire chains. A bag of cat litter is also helpful to increase weight and help with traction if you become stuck. If you do become stuck or stranded, it is important to stay in your vehicle.
3. Do not pass de-icing trucks or snow plows. Speeding up to pass work trucks is dangerous, the increased speed on icy roads, limited visibility of the driver, as well as poor road conditions ahead of the truck are a very unsafe combination.
4. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
5. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills, and never use cruise control on icy roads.
6. Watch out for bridges, overpasses, and infrequently traveled roads, as they will freeze first. Poor airflow can decrease the temperature in areas where the sun does not normally heat up, like under overpasses, and the road can have hidden icy patches.
7. Do not rely on 4-wheel drive or winter tires. While these things give drivers more control in poor conditions, they are not adequate enough on their own to make driving on icy or slippery roads safe. Over-confident driving may lead to an accident.
Following these tips and guidelines will protect you, your family, and other drivers this season. For more cold weather tips and services to maintain your car, call or stop in any time and we’d be happy to assist you!