|Winter driving tips offered|
|Written by Holyoke Enterprise|
Because more crashes involving property damage occur during the winter months than at any other time, AAA Colorado encourages motorists to prepare their cars for winter driving conditions and to be cautious while on the road.
Make sure vehicles are prepared for winter driving. AAA offers the following tips for preparing to drive on winter roads:
—Have the battery and charging system tested. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather.
—Have the brakes checked to ensure they work properly and apply smoothly, which helps prevent the wheels from locking on slick surfaces.
—Make sure tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can be dangerous and may suffer damage. Remember, the air pressure in tires will decrease one to two psi for every 10-degree drop in outside temperature.
—Make sure the engine coolant provides anti-freeze protection down to the lowest temperatures a vehicle is likely to encounter.
—Visibility is critical in adverse weather conditions. Replace worn windshield wipers that streak and be sure the washer reservoir is filled with a winter solvent that will not freeze.
—Carry a winter driving kit for use in the event of an emergency. The kit should include a small bag of abrasive material such as kitty litter, a small shovel, a snow brush, an ice scraper, flashlight with new batteries, window washer solvent, extra warm clothes, drinking water and non-perishable food.
—Carry a car charger for the phone. Program the phone with important numbers including a reliable roadside service provider that will be able to provide assistance during inclement weather.
When taking to the road during winter weather, remember to drive with caution to help maintain your own safety as well as that of passengers, fellow motorists and roadside workers.
—Before starting out in snowy weather, take time to remove the snow from the entire car so it doesn’t blow onto the windshield. Make sure mirrors and lights are clear as well.
—Allow sufficient room for maintenance vehicles and plows. Stay at least 15 car lengths (200 feet) back and, if one needs to pass, go to the other vehicle’s left.
—Watch for icy surfaces on bridges, even when the rest of the road seems in good condition.
—If one gets stuck in snow, straighten the wheel and accelerate slowly. Add sand or cat litter under the wheels to help avoid spinning the tires.
—If tires lose traction on ice, continue to look and steer in the direction wanting to go. If the wheels start to spin or slide while going up a hill, ease off the accelerator slightly and then gently resume speed.
—Look farther ahead in traffic. Actions by other drivers will be an alert to problems and give drivers extra seconds to react.
—When changing lanes, avoid cutting in front of trucks, which need more time and distance than passenger vehicles to stop.
—Don’t use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.
—Remember that four-wheel drive helps drivers to get going more quickly, but it won’t help them stop any faster.
AAA Colorado has more than 530,000 members and is an advocate for safety and security for all travelers. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides over 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive related services, as well as member exclusive savings. AAA can be visited at www.AAA.com.