Tuesday, December 6, 2016

10 Tips for Safe Winter Driving

The cold season is almost here and, unfortunately, not all drivers are ready for it. While most of us have a lot of experience and know what to expect from winter, the more inexperienced drivers should be aware of several facts in order to avoid getting involved in more or less serious accidents. Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t have to worry about anything while driving this winter:

1. The tire’s contact surface with the road is the size of your palm. Yes, that small. The tire is the only contact point your car makes with the road and this is why you need to make sure the tires are inflated at the pressure indicated by the manufacturer, in order to offer the best possible grip. Also, make sure you check your tire pressure frequently to make sure it’s always the recommended one on all tires and at all times.

2. 44 Fahrenheit, the moment when “M+S” makes a difference. When outside temperature drops below 44 F, that’s when you definitely need snow tires.

3. Used snow tires, an useless risk. Even though it’s legal to run with used tires, this is a big risk every driver takes. Whether some choose these because they’re cheaper or because they’re too lazy to get new ones, used snow tires don’t offer the same safety as new ones. And if the tires are too used, then they don’t offer any safety at all.

4. Drive carefully. Snow tires and all modern safety systems like ABS, traction control, stability control, etc. are useless if you are hastening your car like you’re playing an XBOX video game. Be gentle and drive carefully.

5. Control sideslips. If you’re front wheels lose grip, lift your foot of the gas pedal and, if necessary, also brake a little. Not too much and too sudden, because you’ll block the brakes and that’s worse. On the other hand, if the rear wheels lose grip but you still have control over the front wheels, give it a little more gas. This advice is only suitable for front wheel drive cars. Rear wheel drive is a little more difficult to react to on snow.

6. Don’t forget about antifreeze and windshield washer fluid. Usually, the main concern when winter approaches is to change your tires. And this is why many drivers forget about another important aspect, the antifreeze. You must check and, if necessary, change the type of antifreeze you’re using. The recommended antifreeze is one that withstands temperatures of -22 F.

7. Oil and spark plugs, the engine’s friends. Regularly check your oil level and add some if necessary. Also, when you start your car in the morning, hold the key in the second position on the ignition until all warning lights are off and then start the engine. This way, you’ll allow the spark plugs to warm up.

8. 32 F, the most dangerous temperature. The worst grip on the road is when the temperature is 32 F. It’s the time when the ice on the road is either melting, either just forming and the grip is extremely low. When the temperature indicators shows this value, drive extremely careful.

9. Clean the snow off the car. After heavy snow, all cars are usually completely covered in snow. If you decide to go for a ride, make sure you remove all the snow and ice before setting off. If you only clean the windows, the snow on your hood could all drop on the windshield on the first brake, or if you accelerate it might fall right on the cars driving behind you. Both cases are dangerous.

10. Wash your car. People don’t usually wash their cars in winter, thinking it will get dirty again soon anyway. That’s wrong. Because local authorities usually sprinkle salt and other similar materials on the roads. What you don’t know is that this kind of materials damage your car’s paint and bodywork, so wash you car on a regular basis, even though it will get dirty as soon as you leave the car wash.

In 2007, Vlad Balan founded RPMGO (rpmgo.com) a blog which offers insights and news on the automotive industry. Originally named Auto Unleashed, the blog was rebranded to RPMGO in March 2009 and is now considered one of the most important blogs in the industry. Featuring a lot of fresh and interesting content, RPMGO was named by Forbes magazine a “must-read auto blog” in October 2009.

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