When the weather outside is frightful, it’s important that drivers make sure their vehicles are prepared for wintery weather conditions. Snow and ice can turn a normally safe road into a slippery hazard. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 70 percent of the fatalities related to ice and snow occur in automobiles. Firestone Complete Auto Care recommends these vehicle maintenance and safe driving tips to help families stay safer on the road this winter season:
- Although it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together, winter weather often magnifies existing vehicle problems. It’s important that drivers visit their automotive service providers to make sure their vehicles’ engines, batteries and cooling and exhaust systems are in tip-top shape before the winter months.
- If outside the snow is falling, drivers should check their tire pressure and tread depth. A tire may lose one pound per square inch (psi) for every 10 degree Celsius temperature drop. Drivers should check their tire pressure weekly. Winter tires are designed to improve a vehicle’s stability and handling in adverse driving conditions.
- When on the road, snow is glistening, drivers should slow down to improve vehicle traction and be prepared for longer stopping distances. Abrupt braking, accelerating and turning can cause the driver to lose control of his or her vehicle. If a car or truck begins to skid, a driver should avoid slamming on the brakes; instead, he or she should gently take his or her foot off the accelerator and try to regain traction.
- If over the river and through the woods, a vehicle gets stuck in the snow, kitty litter, sand, an asphalt shingle or gravel placed under the tires can help regain traction. Drivers should not spin their tires. This could make the tires overheat and cause damage to them.
Driving in a winter wonderland can be dangerous, but reviewing simple vehicle-maintenance and safe-driving tips will get you to where you are going.