For many Americans, driving is a necessary part of everyday life. It’s how we get to work, but it’s also how we get to the store and take our kids to school. Winter brings many hazards to the roads, but because our lives need to keep moving, so do our cars. Whether you’re a seasoned driver in the snow or just a bit nervous about the ice on the road, everyone could use some tips and reminders about driving safely in winter conditions.
Don’t Warm Up Inside
When warming up your car, never turn on your car inside an enclosed space like a garage. Especially since many cars have a remote starter these days, this practice can be very deadly. As you might know, vehicle exhaust emits carbon monoxide, which is an odorless, colorless, and deadly toxic gas. In an enclosed space without ventilation, the carbon monoxide will quickly build up and kill you as you’re sitting in your car or as you walk into the garage where the car has been running. Open the garage door if you are going to start your car. Pull your car out of the garage area (which is still somewhat enclosed), and then start your car up. This will save your life. It also would not hurt to pick up a couple Carbon Monoxide detectors to scatter throughout your home.
Properly Inflate Your Tires
The rapidly changing temperatures alter the pressure in your tires. Make sure to check the air pressure in your tires at a pump, especially if the light on your dashboard is on. Make sure that they have the right amount of pressure in them as soon as possible, because properly inflated tires are what provide you with the right amount of traction on the road, which is crucial in the winter months.
Accelerate and Decelerate Slowly
When the ground is slippery (like on snow or ice), your stopping distance increases. There is also less traction on the road, so accelerating too quickly will cause your tires to slip. Keep a level head and drive in gradual transitions. Any sudden movements will result in losing control and sliding around.
Do Not Use Cruise Control
Cruise control is calibrated to drive in normal conditions with dry ground and no winds. When weather conditions like rain, ice, snow, or even high wind, cause road hazards, cruise control is not capable of accounting for those conditions.
Keep More Than Half a Tank of Gas
This practice of keeping over half a tank of gas in your tank is not really to prevent it from freezing. Gas is unlikely to freeze unless you are in a very, very cold location and there is very little gas at all in the tank. The main issue is that when there is less than half of the tank filled up with gas, condensation builds up at a faster rate. It’s the condensation that very easily freezes up your gas lines, preventing the gas from getting to your engine.
Prepare for winter driving this year by checking your tires and keeping reminders around the house about gas and good practices.
Stay safe out there and share this with the friends and family you will be sharing a road with this winter.