Archive for the ‘winter driving safety’ Tag

Winter Storm Terms, Driving Tips and More!

Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Some winter storms are large enough to affect several states, while others affect only a single community. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

Regardless of the severity of a winter storm, you should be prepared in order to remain safe during these events.

Know the Difference

Winter Storm Outlook – Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.

Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.

Winter Storm Watch – Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.

Winter Storm Warning – Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

The Safe Winter Driving Checklist

There are several techniques you can learn in order to become a more controlled winter driver — but before we cover them, it’s important to point out that many winter driving tips are guidelines, not tenets. In order to best know how react to a swerve, it’s crucial to be familiar with your car and how it handles in a spinout. The “right way” to drive on icy or wet roads is partially going to depend on your car’s type of steering system, brake responsiveness, and tire traction.

Make sure your tires can grip slippery roads. Get your tires checked and ask the specialists about your possible traction needs. Remember that “all-season” tires are really more like “three-season” tires in a areas that get more than the occasional skiff of snow each winter. But you aren’t finished even after you’ve visited your local tire shop. You must check and maintain your tires’ psi levels regularly throughout the winter! Winter debris can cause tears and leaks and extremely cold air can drop your air pressure levels, take a few seconds to check them every week and you’re tires will keep you safer and last longer.
Give yourself a winter test drive. Before you hit the roads, make sure you understand how your car handles in certain conditions. During the first storm of the season, drive to a safe open space nearby to try out your brakes, traction and steering on icy, wet or snow-packed pavement. Not only will you have some fun sliding around, but you’ll learn how to recognize when you’re car is sliding and how to regain control once it does.
Know what to expect on your trip and plan accordingly. If you know you need to travel through especially bad wintery conditions, be sure to check for travel advisories on the DOT website first. Visit your state’s DOT website to access information and service alerts about your local weather, road conditions and traffic levels.
If you start sliding, turn slightly into the skid and pump your breaks. Once you’re already sliding, your tires have lost traction with the road. It seems counterintuitive, but in order to avoid a spinout you need to turn slightly into the skid, slowly let of the gas and start pumping the breaks. Yanking the wheel in the other direction and locking the brakes will  stop your tires from turning, but you’ll lose all hope of regaining traction with the road surface.
Slow down and relax. This is the most important rule to driving in bad conditions of any kind. And we’re not just talking about speed — you want to do everything more slowly and more lightly than you normally would. Hitting your gas pedal, clamping your breaks or cranking your wheel too quickly is a surefire way to lose traction on an icy or wet road.
Know when to quit. Sometimes road conditions are simply too dangerous to drive in. If you can’t see or you keep losing control, pull over. Never push your luck if you’re unsure. It’s not worth it to drive if you’re jeopardizing yourself, your passengers or other drivers on the road.

The Essentials of an Emergency Road Kit

Even the smartest and safest drivers get into accidents. That’s why it’s crucial to be prepared for the possibility of any kind of collision or accident that could leave you and your passengers stranded on the side of a cold and possibly dangerous road. The first step is to set aside an easily accessible duffel bag or backpack.

Inside, you will want to include common car safety items like jumper cables, a flashlight and a roadside visibility kit of either reflectors or flares. If you are stranded, a small shovel, bag of sand and a set of chains are all must-haves. If you are handy, you’ll also want a set of tools to repair minor damage and some sort of flag or ribbon to notify first responders or other drivers you are stuck. For about $30, you can buy pre-assembled winter road kits from AAA or just assemble your own according to the types of conditions you expect to face and how far you intend to drive this winter. Here’s a full list of supplies you may want to include in your kit:

Tools: jack, lug wrench, shovel
Chains or traction tires
Extra car fluids: oil, washer fluid, antifreeze
Non-clumping kitty litter, sand or de-icer
Flares, reflectors and flags
Road maps
Extra warm clothes, boots, hat and gloves
Ice scraper and snow brush
Cell phone and car adapter
Rechargeable flashlight
First aid kit
Matches or lighter
Battery jumper cables
Extra food and water
Blanket/sleeping bags
Pocket knife

Winter Car Accidents, Liability and Your Insurance

It’s difficult to predict how fault will be determined in any given accident, but it’s important for policyholders to remember insurance providers aren’t in the business of cutting you more slack just because collisions happen during the winter holiday season. Even if you can’t necessarily prevent sliding on that patch of black ice, you’ll still be held liable for any collisions that result. According to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, you can be held liable for an accident you cause by sliding into an intersection.

During the holidays, many of us loan our cars to visiting relatives and friends to go shopping, sightseeing or visiting. So, what happens if the driver borrowing our car causes an accident with our car? Actually, insurance follows the car, not the driver. If you’ve got a standard comprehensive and collision insurance policy, it’s your insurance covering the damages. That means it’s your premiums and your risk-rating that is affected by the wreck your cousin causes in your car, regardless of if he has a policy of his own. It’s important to carefully read your policies terms on other drivers and liability before loaning out your car. Of course, the same liability standards do not apply if your car is borrowed without your permission or stolen.

Another misconception among policyholders is that coverage levels cannot change on a month to month basis. This is not true. If you have a vehicle that you don’t drive much in the winter, you can reduce a comprehensive coverage plan on this car for the winter months. In these cases, policyholders can opt to remove liability coverage, personal injury protection and collision coverage from their standard plans.

That said, if you plan on driving your car at all during the winter months, you’ll need to meet your state’s minimum coverage requirements. Be sure to contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles or your insurance agent to be sure that your coverage is adequate for your vehicle and it’s level of use.
Find Your DMV and DOT

Below you can find your local Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Transportation. If you plan on driving during inclement weather or are considering reducing your insurance coverage, it’s in your best interest to consult with one of these departments. Remember: being informed and aware are essential steps for keeping the roads safe for everyone.

Michigan Department of State:
Michigan Dept. of Transportation:

Car-Care Checklist for Cold-weather Driving Season

Mopar® Announces Car-Care Checklist for Cold-weather Driving Season

  • Ten items to check before winter
  • Mopar® services Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram, SRT and Fiat vehicles
  • With the addition of Magneti Marelli parts, Mopar also services competitive makes
  • Mopar now offers full menu of all-season, winter and performance tires
  • Mopar Service Clinic offers free vehicle inspections and dealership tours at select Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat dealerships
October 4, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Before winter settles in, fall is the time for owners to get their vehicles into shape.

“Now is the time to prepare your vehicle for the upcoming winter-driving season,” said Jim Sassorossi, Head of Sales and Product Development at Mopar®, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “Preventative maintenance helps vehicles perform at optimum levels in a variety of conditions.

“With original-equipment Mopar parts, our factory-trained technicians provide full service to Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram, SRT and Fiat vehicles,” Sassorossi added. “And with the addition of proven, quality-tested parts from Magneti Marelli, we also service all domestic and most import vehicles as well.”

Mopar’s Fall Car-Care Checklist

1: Brakes
Summer travel gives brake pads a heavy workout, resulting in the removal of thin layers. Now is the time to check pads, shoes, rotors, drums, calipers, wheel cylinders, brake hardware and the parking brake for wear and tear.

2: Tires
Closely inspect the tread and sidewall areas of tires for uneven or irregular wear. In addition, excessive edge wear, center wear and shoulder wear can act as an indicator for other trouble spots on your vehicle. It’s also important to ensure correct air pressure at all times in order to prevent premature wear. Be sure to check the spare as well. If replacements are needed, Mopar offers a complete lineup of tires and winter tires from BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Firestone, General, Goodyear, Hankook, Kelly, Kumho, Michelin, Uniroyal and Yokohama brands.

3: Battery
Summer heat does the most damage to battery life and is why they often fail in the winter. Check for corroded terminals and a bulging or cracked case. Test and replace battery if necessary.

4: Wiper Blades
Winter driving conditions challenge your ability to see the road. Mopar’s lineup of wiper blades now includes Beam Blades, which provide superior all-weather performance and aid driving visibility. The wiper blades boast a skin coating that seals the aerodynamic spoiler in order to protect it from winter weather. Mopar Beam Blades also are constructed to eliminate exposed parts and to resist snow- and ice-clogging.

5: Shocks and Struts
For motorists located in cold and snowy climates, fall and winter also usher in a dreaded time of year: pothole season. Shocks and struts are the most overlooked service parts on a vehicle, but they affect ride control and comfort and can also affect a number of related parts. Mopar shocks and struts optimize vehicle handling, tire life and keep vehicles riding smoothly.

6: Engine Oil
Ensure your engine oil has the correct viscosity in order to endure cold weather. Engine oil should be changed or replenished at recommended intervals. Low or dirty fluids affect how an engine and its components perform and could potentially cause engine damage under extreme conditions.

7: Fluid Levels
All vehicle fluids and lubricants should be checked and changed at factory-recommended intervals. Key fluids include antifreeze/coolant level and concentration, as well as power steering, brake, transmission and windshield washer fluids.

8: Engine Belts and Hoses
Replace belts and hoses at recommended intervals. Quality-tested Mopar belts and hoses offer precision fit, optimal service life and original-equipment performance.

9: Air Filter
The air filter is designed to protect your engine from airborne contaminants. Poor air flow to the engine inhibits performance and generates greater fuel consumption. A new air filter allows clean, unrestricted air flow into the engine and helps ensure proper performance for a longer life.

10: Headlamps and Taillamps
Days become shorter in the fall and winter, meaning more nighttime driving and increased usage of headlamps and taillamps. Inspect and test all lamps on your vehicle to ensure proper function and proper alignment.

Mopar Fall Service Specials and Rebates
Mopar has a full slate of fall service specials and mail-in rebates on tap for consumers, including:

  • $70 rebates on select sets of four Goodyear premium tires
  • $20 rebates per set of any other four Goodyear tires
  • $20 rebates per set of two Value Line struts
  • $10 rebates per set of two Value Line shocks
  • $2.50 rebates per each Value Line wiper blade (applicable for all makes and models)
  • At select Chrysler Group dealerships, one special low price for three services: oil and filter change, Mopar Value Line wiper blades and multipoint vehicle checkup, plus a 10 percent discount on needed repairs
  • At select Chrysler Group dealerships, customers can take advantage of the Mopar Service Clinic, a program that offers free vehicle inspections in October and November

Mopar-First Features
Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:

  • Camper trailers: first to introduce off-road camper trailers
  • Vehicle-information smartphone apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with consumers
  • Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format
  • Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to introduce new vehicle tracking system that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on set parameters
  • 2011 Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car
  • WiFi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
  • Brand-specific customer-care telephone lines: first to offer Sunday service hours to customers
  • WiTECH: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network

About the Mopar Brand
Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand.

Mopar distributes approximately 280,000 parts and accessories in more than 90 countries and is the source for all original-equipment parts for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles. Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles — a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at

More than 70 Years of Mopar
When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts manufacturer, supplier and distribution system to support the growing enterprise led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation (CMPC) in 1929.

Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. It also was widely used as a moniker for the CMPC. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s — the muscle-car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth “package cars” equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of “special parts” for super-stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use.

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