Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Driving Safety

Following a few simple driving habits like planning ahead, driving at a safe speed, driving alert and buckling up could ensure that you safely make it to your destination.

Safe Winter Driving Tips:
  • Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof – before driving.
  • Pay attention. Don’t try to out-drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
  • Leave plenty of room for stopping.
  • Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back and don’t pass on the right.
  • Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Don’t stomp on the brakes. It takes more time to stop in adverse conditions.
  • Watch for slippery bridges, even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition. Bridge decks will ice up sooner than the adjacent pavement.
  • Don’t use your cruise control in wintry conditions. Even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots and the short touch of your brakes to deactivate the cruise control feature can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Don’t pump anti-lock brakes. If your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, do not pump brakes in attempting to stop. The right way is to “stomp and steer".
  • Look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by cars and trucks will alert you quicker to problems and gives you that split-second extra time to safely react.
  • Remember that trucks are heavier than cars. Trucks take longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
  • Go slow! Drive according to conditions.
Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter Driving:
Reliable transportation is especially important in the winter. Not only should you keep your vehicle in top operating condition all year round - for safety and fuel economy - it is especially important to get it winterized to avoid any unpleasant or dangerous situations while traveling in frigid weather. Check the following:
  • Ignition system
  • Fuel system
  • Belts
  • Fluid levels
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust system
  • Wiper blades and windshield washer fluid
  • Snow tires
  • Tire tread and pressure
  • Defroster
  • Proper grade oil
  • Cooling system
  • Battery
  • Lights
  • Antifreeze
Always fill the gasoline tank before entering open country, even for a short distance, and stop to fill up long before the tank begins to run low. Keeping your tank as full as possible will minimize condensation, providing the maximum advantage in case of trouble.
  • A cellular phone can be very useful to you or another stranded motorist in case of an emergency.
  • Drive with your headlights on.
  • Stock your car with basic winter driving equipment: a scraper and brush, small shovel, jumper cables, tow chain and a bag of sand or cat litter for tire traction.
  • Include road flares, a blanket, heavy boots, warm clothing, and flashlight with batteries.
Allow Extra Time:
Give yourself some extra time to reach your destination. Roadways get slick when freezing air circulates above it. Remember bridges and overpasses typically freeze before other road surfaces so you don’t want to do any hard braking or quick accelerations. When snow falls, time and resources are focused on the most heavily traveled routes first, so sidestreets may not see a snowplow right away.
Wash Your Car:
Keeping your vehicle clean during the winter keeps snow and road grime from caking on your head and taillights, which makes it easier for you to see and be seen. Salt and anti- icing chemicals can cause corrosion so you want to wash them from your vehicle.
I hope these tips keep you safe this winter.

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