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Winter Driving

10 Things Teen Drivers Should Know About Winter Driving

Preventative Vehicle Maintenance
Winter this year seems unending so be prepared with these hot tips for the cold winter.

Preventative Vehicle Maintenance

Have your car checked for mechanical problems. The last thing you want is for your car to break down on an icy road far from home.

Pack an Emergency Kit

Keep an emergency kit in your car at all times to help you out if you are ever in an accident or break down in the middle of nowhere.

Maintain Your Tires

Always make sure your tires have plenty of tread and pressure. Check your tires at least once a week during the winter.

Slow Down

When driving on an icy road be sure to take it slow. You might not get to your destination quickly but you will be more likely to make it there in one piece.

Use Sand

Sand rock salt cat litter and other similar items can help you out if you ever get stuck in the snow or need to gain more traction on an icy road or driveway.

Clear the Snow

It may be a pain in the neck but always clear all of the snow from your front and back windshields before driving so that you have full visibility.

Drive During the Day

Avoid driving at night whenever possible. It is much easier to see during daylight hours.

Take a Driving Mentor

It is a good idea for you to take an older more experienced driver along when you are driving in winter conditions.

Keep Your Tank Full

Never take the risk of running out of gas in dangerous winter conditions. Always keep your tank as close to full as possible.

Check Your Battery

Make sure your battery is properly charged before you leave home. Most batteries lose energy faster in cold weather.

How to Prepare for Winter Driving

Winter Storm Oct 2012, Winter is here are you ready?
Winter weather may just be a few days or weeks away, or has already come for some. With winter weather comes winter driving and those inexperienced driving in the severe weather may have a tough time navigating the roads unless they adequately prepare. If this is you, whether you are a young driver who just got your license, or you just moved to cold state from a warm one, then here�۪s how you need to prepare for the winter driving coming up.

How to Prepare for Winter Driving
Winter weather may just be a few days or weeks away, or has already come for some. With winter weather comes winter driving and those inexperienced driving in the severe weather may have a tough time navigating the roads unless they adequately prepare. If this is you, whether you are a young driver who just got your license, or you just moved to cold state from a warm one, then here�۪s how you need to prepare for the winter driving coming up:

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Get the Right Gear ��� Safe winter driving requires additional tools, in case something happens while driving, or if the weather worsens throughout the day. It�۪s best to get these tools before the first snow falls. The tools you need to get are an ice scraper, a first aid kit, winter tires/tire chains, a shovel, booster cables, several blankets, and sand for traction. Because the roads are much more dangerous in winter, you want to be ready for an emergency and you want to be able to last a while if you can�۪t move your car or you can�۪t keep the heat on.

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Make Switches with Your Vehicle ��� Just like switching out the tires for something with more tread, there are other parts of your car that you can switch to make it better suited for winter driving. For example, you can change your wiper blades for ones that can cut through snow and ice. You can also change your wiper fluid to one that will still work when it�۪s below freezing. Also, do a maintenance checkup before winter arrives to make sure your lights, battery, thermostat, heater, brakes, and defroster are all working. You also want to make sure that your tire pressure and your antifreeze levels are where they need to be.

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Consider Weather and Routes before Getting on the Road ��� Conditions can change quickly, so before starting your trip, check routes for accidents, road advisories, and road closures. You might also want to check the weather to see if severe weather is expected to hit while you are driving or out. Another safety measure to take is to let someone know what route you are taking. If something happens and you don�۪t arrive, you want to give friends and family an idea of where to look for you.

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Be Extra Cautious ��� When driving, be a bit more vigilant than normal because of road conditions and because of your inexperience with winter driving. This means driving more slowly, giving yourself and other drivers more room, giving yourself more time to break, avoiding sudden changes in speed and direction, and watching your surroundings for hazards. Before pulling out of your driveway or out into the street, wait for your windows to defrost and for your vision to clear, even if you are driving a short distance.


With winter driving, you can never be too careful. Don�۪t wait for the snow or for the worst of winter to hit before preparing yourself or your vehicle for winter driving. Before getting out into that severe weather for the first time, take our winter driving safety quiz! There�۪s no better way to ensure that you know how to drive safely in the winter!

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Winter Driving Safety Tips

Whether contemplating a new car or getting your current car ready for the road, these tips will help you drive safely this winter.Front, Rear, All, and Four Wheel Drive: Which one is best for winter travelGetting the Best Performance from Your Vehicle


Whether contemplating a new car or getting your current car ready for the road, these tips will help you drive safely this winter.Try a Winter Driving Safety Quiz

 

Front, Rear, All, and Four Wheel Drive: Which one is best for winter travel?

 

In order from worst to best:

Winter Driving

A rear wheel drive vehicle with an open differential can't put down power if one of the rear wheels starts slipping. Fortunately, these are only seen today on base model trucks and vans.

Most newer rear wheel drive vehicles have a limited slip differential. If one drive wheel starts slipping, power is redirected to the other wheel.

A front wheel drive powertrain gets better traction because the weight of the engine and transmission is over the drive wheels.

When engaged, a four wheel drive system sends power to every wheel. This even power distribution can get the vehicle unstuck when the front or rear wheels are in a place that they can't get traction. However, this also means they can't compensate for different wheel speeds when turning, which can make handling unpredictable on dry pavement.

An all wheel drive powertrain automatically adjusts power to each wheel, allowing for both the traction capabilities of 4WD and the predictable turning behavior of 2WD.

Just as important are electronics systems: ABS can keep the wheels from locking under braking, traction control can keep the vehicle from spinning out while moving from a start, and electronic stability control can keep power in check while making a turn. Having these systems will improve traction with any drivetrain.

 

Getting the Best Performance from Your Vehicle

 

Winter Tire Safety

There is nothing that improves winter driving more than the right set of tires: While all wheel drive and advanced computer aids will get a vehicle moving, its the ability of the tires to grip the road that determines stopping distances.

While all-season tires are far better than summer performance tires in the snow, they're a far cry from true winter tires. The "M + S" label found on many all season tires stands for "mud and snow," but all that means is they have a thick tread depth. After just 20% of the tread has worn off, these tires lose 80% of their grip on ice and snow.

Winter tires are more than just deep treads: the compound has a special compound that wicks away water created when the warm tire melts the ice it's riding on. The compound also stays pliable in very low temperatures, and is soft enough to handle the bumpy surfaces left behind by compacted snow.

Studded Winter Tires

 

For most drivers, studless winter tires are the best choice as they can handle slick roads without majorly compromizing dry surface performance. Studded tires have better ice performance, but they're terrible on dry roads, and are outlawed in many areas because they rapidly wear to road surfaces. A new category, winter performance tires, is biased more towards dry road performance. These are available in the low profile sizes popular on sports cars. Here's a helpful Winter Tire Decision Guide

 

There are a few more things you should consider when getting your car ready for winter travel:

 

Batteries take cold weather the hardest, losing 35% of their cranking power when it dips below freezing, and 50% once the temperature reaches 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius.) While most new batteries are sealed "maintenance free" units, they can still benefit from having clean terminal contacts. If the battery is a few years old, take it into a parts store for a load test. If it doesn't pass, it's better to get a replacement now instead of being stuck in a parking lot.

For severe cold weather, you may need to switch to a lighter oil. The "W" on the label of multi-grade oils doesn't stand for "weight," it stands for "winter." These oils have been tested to flow at the rate in front of the W at freezing temperatures: A 5W30 oil will flow like a 5 weight oil when cold, thickening to a 30 weight oil once the engine is up to operating temperature. Information on the proper oil weight for winter temperatures will be listed in your owner's manual as well as a sticker underneath the hood.

The resistance of the engine's coolant to freezing is dependent of the age and quantity of antifreeze mixed in with the water. Temperature testing can be done at an auto shop, or with a floating ball gauge available at your local parts store.

Wiper fluid is key for keeping the windshield clear of water and road salt. Look for wiper fluid designed for cold use and avoid any that is marked "summer mix." Likewise, winter wiper blades are designed with joints that resist ice build-up and heavy duty low temperature rubber for the blade surface, helping them cut through windshield build-up at any temperature.

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