Tag: cold weather driving
Now that it’s getting colder some parts of the country are experiencing snowy and icy conditions that aren’t conducive to safe driving, at least without some serious adjustments to your driving technique. Not only do you have to get snow tires and all the gear that will make your car handle more capably in these conditions, but you also have to learn how to drive your vehicle when the conditions aren’t great for it, and that’s a real adjustment for most people.
Get the Right Gear
The most important investment that you can make for your safety in cold-weather driving conditions is a pair of snow tires. They will allow you to brake more effectively and maintain your grip while turning and driving around as usual. With the proper snow tires you should consider adding chains or studs in order to enhance the traction on your tires even further. These accessories will only be used for severe weather driving and would have to be removed for the average days, but will really help enhance traction when it’s needed most.
Work in Slow Motion
Driving in winter weather isn’t just about lowering your speed, though that’s a pretty good first step. You also have to think about how you turn the vehicle. Changing direction too quickly while driving in the snow can lead to problems with sliding. You have to turn slowly and with a wider arc than you normally would for best performance. This takes some getting used to and you’ll have to practice in order to get good at driving in the snow without performance problems. To be sure that you’re safe go extremely slow while out in the snow or on icy roads at first, and over time you’ll develop a feel for winter driving that’s very safe.
Watch Far Ahead
It’s always important to remain aware of your surroundings while driving, but it becomes even more important while driving in the snow. It’s in your best interests to avoid driving after dark on snowy roads in general to help you avoid running into situations with low visibility. While driving look far ahead down the road and prepare to slow down as soon as you can so you can do it slowly. You have to begin braking sooner and slow down at a much slower pace than you would expect.
A Little Gas Makes all the Difference
In the event that you start to spin out and lose traction don’t make the major mistake of slamming down on your brakes. That will take a minor problem and turn it into something very serious. Instead lightly press down on the gas to keep the tires spinning and carefully ride out the problem. As long as you have some decent tires equipped the slipping will subside in a matter of moments and you can continue to drive as usual. The moment you press down on the brakes you go into an out-of-control slide that’s really hard to control.
Driving out on snowy and icy roads isn’t much fun. However, it doesn’t have to be unsafe if you know what you’re doing and you take the time to prepare adequately. Sure some work is involved, but you’ll feel more confident out on the road and shouldn’t have as many problems either.
Winter is fast approaching, are you ready for the harshest season out of the year? If you haven’t taken steps to prepare your Scion yet, you should set some time aside to do so now. Follow along with these steps to get ready for ice, snow, sleet and slush and all the troubles that come when the temperature dips down. It will take some time, but all good things do.
Keep an Emergency Kit Handy
There’s no telling when you’re going to run into an emergency while driving down the road, it’s especially important to be prepared for such things during the winter. Make sure that you have jumper cables, a spare tire or donut, a jack, a flashlight and a blanket in your vehicle. It’s also a good idea to keep an emergency cell phone in your vehicle if you don’t normally carry a cell phone with you anyway. With this set you should be able to handle most emergencies that you come across and get help for the rest.
Plan for Ice and Snow
If you live in a northern climate, chances are good you deal with a lot of ice. You should have an ice kit in your vehicle to help you with common cold-weather troubles. The kit should have sand, an ice scraper, de-icer and a small shovel. The sand and shovel are to help you dig yourself out of a snowbank and increase traction so you can get out if you slip off the road. The ice scraper should always be kept on hand to clean off windows when they ice up. De-icer is a handy little tool to get doors open and unfreeze keyholes when it’s really cold out.
Take Care of Maintenance
Cold weather is particularly hard on vehicles in the winter, and the last thing you want to be doing once is cold is working outside on your vehicle. That’s why it’s so important to handle all the maintenance tasks before it gets too cold out.
The first thing you need to do is take a look at your tires. Make sure the tread is good and rotate them if necessary. Switch over to your winter tires once the weather is cold enough for snow if you have any. After the tires you should move on to your oil. Check to see how long it has been since your last change. Switch it if necessary to make sure you don’t have to deal with the task in the winter. Finally take a look at your coolant levels and ensure that your antifreeze is topped up properly to keep everything running smoothly in frosty temperatures. Also check your battery to be sure it’s still in top condition. Starting your car is more difficult in the cold and a poor performing battery won’t turn the engine over on those particularly frigid mornings.
Now that you’ve gone through the steps you should feel better about your chances of getting through winter without an issue. You’re ready for unexpected problems, and the maintenance you did should help you avoid some of them.