Stay Safe On Winter Roads

 

While the rains may be great for California reservoirs, they tend to make roads more dangerous. And with all the rain we’ve been getting, it’s more important than ever to be cautious on our busy roadways.

But what precautions should you take? How do you stay safe on winter roads?

With decades of driving experience and quite a bit of car know-how, allow me to answer those questions for you! The truth is, you can help ensure your safety on wet roads with just some simple maintenance and an alert eye.

 

Check Your Tires

It’s smart to check your tires when road conditions are good, but it’s even more important that you check them when the weather is less than perfect. Make sure to perform the following maintenance on a regular basis. And don’t worry. You can do most of this stuff at home!

Keep your tires properly inflated: Check your tire pressure at least once a month and be sure it’s filled to the recommended volume. And be sure to always check your tires after you have driven the car for a few miles so they come up to operating temperature. You can find your vehicle’s correct tire air pressure in the owner’s manual, or inside the drivers side door jamb. The number stamped on the side of your tire is NOT the recommended air pressure!

Check your tires’ tread depth: To help prevent skids and hydroplaning, tires should have at least 1/16 inch tread depth across the entire tire tread pattern. Stick a penny in a tread well, Lincoln first. If you can see President Lincoln’s head once the penny’s in the tread, then you probably need new tires.

Be aware of how old your tires are: Tires are manufactured by bonding rubber to fabric plies and steel cords. And despite the anti-aging ingredients mixed into the rubber compounds, tires are perishable, and they may age-out before their treads wear down. You should replace your tires after 10 years regardless of tread depth. To find out how old your tires are, look for a 4 digit stamp on the sidewall of the tire. It will say the week and year that the tire was manufactured. Example: If stamped 2010, that would mean the tire was manufactured in the 20th week of 2010. Or 0206 means it was manufactured the 2nd week of 2006—time to replace!

Have your tires rotated every 6,000-7,000 miles: In addition to detecting any potentially dangerous alignment issues, rotating your tires routinely will help prevent irregular wear.

 

Slow It Down

“Slow and steady wins the race.” Rarely is the fable about a hare and a turtle more applicable to driving than
in the rain. Having tires with healthy tread can help reduce the chances of a skid but a skid may still occur.
Drive slowly so, if you do skid, you have more time to retake control of the situation.

 

Test Your Brakes and ABS System

Drive to a safe, deserted area and apply your brakes as hard as you can from a slow speed like 15-20 mph. In a car equipped with an anti-lock braking system you will hear and feel the system pulsing to brake each wheel repeatedly for maximum performance braking. Get used to this feeling, as most people lift off the pedal when this happens—at the exact wrong moment. On cars with out ABS systems, brake on wet pavement to discover the fine line between locking up the wheels and sliding the car. From there, back off slightly to achieve best braking results. Like any skill, braking well takes practice. So practice regularly!

 

Don’t Tailgate!

It can take between two and three times longer to brake on wet roads than on dry ones. Put some distance
between yourself and the car ahead of you to maximize safe travel. How much distance? About three car
lengths should do.

 

Safety Is Priority #1

Driving in the rain is more dangerous than you might think, so do yourself a favor and take these few steps to make your wet drive safer.
Tune in next time for more tips, more news, and more cars!

Taz