As we wind down another year, Chevrolet would like to extend our warmest wishes for a joyous and safe Holiday Season. We look forward to another happy, healthy and active year of fun with RUSH members and families in 2015.
Remember: whether you’re traveling for a tournament or to friends and family for the holidays, safety should always be your first priority! Snow and ice are common conditions in the Midwest and Northeast. Rain, wind, fog and floods are no strangers to the West Coast. And the South often experiences black ice. Because Mother Nature is so unpredictable, the best advice for winter driving is to always be ready for the unexpected, and your local Chevrolet dealer can help make sure your car is prepared for any winter weather.
Here are some tips for newer drivers to stay safe on the roads this season:
- Check it out: Before the really cold, snowy weather hits, take the opportunity to give your car a pre-winter inspection. Are your tires in good shape? Proper tread depth is crucial for safe winter driving. While you’re at it, ensure that your car’s ignition, battery, exhaust and cooling system are checked. Make sure your antifreeze is not only at its proper level, but also at the proper strength.
- Know your vehicle: Is it front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive? Does it have on-demand all-wheel drive? Knowing these answers can mean the difference between staying in your lane and ending up in the ditch. For example, all-wheel drive can often create a false sense of security in the snow – it cannot help stop or slow down a vehicle that is sliding! If your car is rear-wheel drive, put some sandbags in the trunk to keep extra weight on the rear wheels.
- Practice makes perfect: If possible, have an experienced driver or parent practice with you in an empty parking lot on a snowy day. It will help you get a feel for how your vehicle handles in slippery winter conditions.
- Give ‘em a brake: Anti-lock brakes often make a grinding, pulsing noise when trying to stop on slippery surfaces - it sounds terrible, but that’s the sound of your brakes doing their job! Even with anti-lock brakes, practice caution when braking in slippery conditions. Begin braking well before turns – not during turns. Leave plenty of room between you and the driver ahead of you, so you don’t need to use the brakes as much. Two car lengths for every 10 mph is a good rule of thumb.
Of course, safe driving is everyone’s responsibility – from novice drivers to seasoned pros – so here are some advanced tips for keeping it safe this winter:
- Use your gears: If you have a vehicle with manual transmission, drive in the highest gear possible to reduce torque and lower the chances of spinning your wheels. If possible, start out in second gear and shift up sooner than you might under perfect road conditions.
- Move with momentum: Carrying speed up slopes allows you to climb hills without spinning your wheels. As you reach the crest of a hill, ease off the throttle. As you head down the hill, do your best to control your speed and think ahead about potential hazards.
- Condensation frustration: Winter weather tends to fog up windows inside your vehicle. To keep them clear, use the air conditioner pulling outside air (not recirculating) set to ‘warm’ to keep condensation at bay.
Warmer weather winter driving tips:
- Weather where you live: Weather in southern states like Florida and Texas is normally mild during the winter. When conditions take an icy turn, driving can become perilous. Drivers aren’t used to slippery roads, and often cities don’t have snow removal equipment or sand or salt trucks ready to go. Don’t try driving in snow, ice or freezing fog if you’re not experienced with these road conditions.
- For foggy conditions: Drive with lights on low beam. High beams will reflect back off the fog and impair visibility even more. In heavy fog, slow down and use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.
- Watch out for black ice: It can be caused by melted snowfall that refreezes or fog that is near the freezing point and makes contact with cold surfaces like the road. Black ice is particularly dangerous because it is almost invisible to the naked eye.
- Don’t count on cruise control: If a vehicle hydroplanes, cruise control could make it accelerate.
- Water always wins: Drive around - not through - big puddles. Water splashing into a vehicle’s engine compartment could damage electrical systems, or the water could be hiding damaging potholes. After driving across a puddle, tap brakes lightly to dry off rotors.