Winter driving can be hazardous but there are some winter safety tips that can prevent bad experiences on the road. Below in point form are some tips and ideas to help make winter driving a bit safer. If you think winter emergencies won’t happen to you just read this news bulletin from the Toronto Star.
- Winter Tires. The main contact between your vehicle and the road is the rubber on your tires. A couple of years ago I drove an Escape with winter tires for about 2 minutes and then drove my demo Escape without winter tires right after that. I was shocked at the difference. Winter tires are the #1 safety item for winter driving. If you need a great deal on winter tires contact me.
- Minimum of a 1/4 tank of gas. As in the article link above you never know when you may be stranded on a highway or trapped in extreme traffic tie ups during winter. Treat 1/4 of a tank as empty during winter months.
- Washer Fluid. You’re driving down the highway and you realize that you have run out of washer fluid. Funny… Not really! Dangerous is more like it. Pick a day during the week as part of your routine to fill your washer fluid even if you know there’s quite a bit still in the reservoir.
- Safety Kit. A safety kit doesn’t need to be a camping kit but having an energy bar, extra gloves, a winter hat and a blanket (maybe 2) can make the difference of staying warm while stranded.
- Light On Your Key Chain. A small light on a key chain can be of great assistance. I personally used mine when I was stuck in an elevator several years ago.
- Don’t Use Speed Control (Cruise) In Bad Weather. The first reaction if road conditions change is to hit the brake when you are on speed control. Hitting the brakes is usually the worst thing to do on icy roads or if you start to hydroplane on water. Speed control is great in fair weather and can increase your fuel economy just don’t use it when driving in poor weather.
- Headlights On. This seems like a no brainer but full headlights on means that your tail lights are on so people can see you from a distance in white outs or heavy snow.
- Collapsible Shovel. Getting stuck or finding your parked car buried in a snow drift can be a pain and a winter danger. Having a collapsible shovel (they don’t take much space) can make the difference in getting going in a couple of minutes or waiting an hour or more for a tow truck.
- Important Phone Numbers In Your Cell Phone. Program your local tow truck company’s phone number, CAA, Ford Roadside Assistance 1-800-665-2006, Police non emergency phone number and local taxi cab company phone numbers in your cell phone. Also, if your phone has the ability to hold notes add a note with the 17 digit VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of your vehicle. If you call Ford Roadside Assistance they will ask for your 17 digit VIN. If you are not with your car or if it’s blowing snow and you can’t read it through the windshield this note in your cell phone will be of great help in getting assistance. Your VIN can be found on your ownership and in the lower drivers side of the dash (through the windshield).
I will add items as I think of them and if you have some suggestions feel free to send them to me using the form at the bottom of the page.
Don’t wait to start implementing these simple ideas.