Archive for the ‘winter driving tips’ Tag

Winter Driving Tips

AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:

  • Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
  • Always look and steer where you want to go.
  • Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.

Tips for long-distance winter trips:

  • Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
  • Always make sure your vehicle is in peak operating condition by having it inspected by a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility.
  • Keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times.
  • Pack a cellular telephone with your local AAA’s telephone number, plus blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle.
  • If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
  • Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
  • Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.
  • If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.

Tips for driving in the snow:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

Visit AAA’s YouTube page for more videos on winter driving tips.

Read more at: https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/winter-driving-tips/?sf96221020=1#.XA_iNuJG2Ul

Driving in Winter Wonderland Takes Preparation

After two of the worst winters ever in many parts of the country, the Car Care Council suggests that motorists take a little extra time now to make sure their vehicles are prepared for the unexpected when weather arrives.

Winter Driving Tips

“The last two winters brought record-setting snowfall. That may sound like a winter wonderland, but many motorists experienced breakdowns because they did not take preventative measures to make sure their vehicles were ready for the elements,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Taking the time now to have your vehicle checked will help you avoid getting stranded in sub-zero temperatures and facing a costly repair bill.”

The non-profit Car Care Council recommends checking the following areas of your vehicle so it is road ready when severe winter weather strikes.

– Check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
– Check the antifreeze. As a general rule of thumb, clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system every two years.
– Check that heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid.
– Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
– Check the oil and filter and be diligent about changing them at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
– Check engine performance before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
– Check the brakes. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
– Check the exhaust system for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
– Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.

During winter, drivers should keep their vehicle’s gas tank at least half-full to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Motorists should also check the tire pressure of the spare in the trunk and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

To learn more about winterizing your vehicle, view the council’s Car Care Minute video and visit http://www.carcare.org to order a free copy of the 80-page Car Care Guide.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2015/12/driving-in-winter-wonderland-takes-preparation/

Winter Driving Tips

Severe weather can be both frightening and dangerous for automobile travel. Motorists should know the safety rules for dealing with winter road emergencies. AAA reminds motorists to be cautious while driving in adverse weather. For more information on winter driving, the association offers the How to Go on Ice and Snow brochure, available through most AAA offices. Contact your local AAA club for more information.

AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:

– Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.

– Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.

– Make certain your tires are properly inflated.

– Never mix radial tires with other tire types.

– Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.

– If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.

– Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).

– Always look and steer where you want to go.

– Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.

Tips for long-distance winter trips:

– Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.

– Always make sure your vehicle is in peak operating condition by having it inspected by a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility.

– Keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times.

– Pack a cellular telephone with your local AAA’s telephone number, plus blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle.

– If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.

– Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow.

– Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.

– Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.

– Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.

– If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.

Tips for driving in the snow:

– Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

– Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.

– The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

– Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

– Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.

– Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.

– Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

– Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

Read more at: http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/roadway-safety/winter-driving-tips/

Six Quick Tips for Sub-Zero Winter Driving

When it comes to winter car care, many motorists think of antifreeze and batteries, but vehicles need extra attention when temperatures drop below zero. The non-profit Car Care Council offers six quick tips to help your vehicle perform at its best during cold weather months.

1) Keep the gas tank at least half full; this decreases the chance of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.

2) Check the tire pressure, including the spare, as tires can lose pressure when temperatures drop. Consider special tires if snow and ice are a problem in your area.

3) Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

4) Allow your car a little more time to warm up when temperatures are below freezing so that the oil in the engine and transmission circulate and get warm.

5) Change to low-viscosity oil in winter as it will flow more easily between moving parts when it is cold. Drivers in sub-zero temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.

6) Consider using cold weather washer fluid and special winter windshield blades if you live in a place with especially harsh winter conditions.

“Sub-zero temperatures can have a real impact on your vehicle,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance and rough idling, and very cold temperatures reduce battery power. If you haven’t had your vehicle checked recently, a thorough vehicle inspection is a good idea so you can avoid the aggravation and unexpected cost of a breakdown in freezing weather.”

As a precaution, motorists should be sure their vehicle is stocked with an emergency kit containing an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

As read on: http://www.carcare.org/2015/01/six-quick-tips-sub-zero-winter-driving/

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: https://www.michigan.gov/sos
Michigan Dept. of Transportation: http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/