Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winter driving-- things you should be doing

With the inclimate weather on it's way--(later than usual) we wanted to remind you of a few things you should be doing when driving in snow and ice--

While driving test the traction from time to time by lightly applying the brake pedal. On slippery surfaces, drive more slowly. Look further ahead and to the rear more often and keep a longer safety margin both in front and to the rear. Be gentle with the accelerator, the brakes and the steering. Sudden or quick maneuvers are the most common cause of loss of control on slippery surfaces.

Plan your maneuvers sooner so that you may reduce your speed more than usual in "good time". When turning, start at a much slower speed and accelerate later than usual and more gently. While driving, activate the windshield wipers (if not already operating) before you meet oncoming vehicles, a vehicle passes you or you pass another vehicle. Avoid passing unless it is absolutely necessary; make sure that the driver ahead is in no danger of steering off course and the space available for passing is much longer than normal.

In snow or blowing snow, travel in the lane with the least snow or ice. In fact, follow the path of the preceding vehicles even though it may not coincide with the center of a lane. Avoid driving in ruts; do not attempt to get out of them at high speeds.

Wet roadways are especially slippery as the temperature nears the freezing point (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Extra caution should be exercised on bridges, elevated expressways and shaded areas as these surfaces freeze more quickly.

Be safe out there!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hydroplaning-- The "what to do" to help you avoid and get out of a slick situation

With all the wet weather and melting snow lately we thought that people would benefit from a reminder about Hydroplaning-

HYDROPLANING can occur when a combination of speed, tire wear, tire inflation, or the depth of the water on the pavement causes the tires to lose traction. In wet weather (water, wet snow, slush), the tires cut through and maintain contact with the pavement at speeds of less than 30 mph.
Unless the tires are excessively worn (bald tires) or underinflated, or the water is very deep; in any of these cases, you may till hydroplane at slow speeds.

At higher speeds (40 mph and higher), the wedge of water in front of the tires may pass under the tires and the tires will ride on the cushion of water. Traction will be lost completely

To prevent hydroplaning:
·         check your tires and tire inflation regularly
      ·         reduce your speed even more when facing standing water and puddles
·         drive in the tracks of preceding vehicles

Should your vehicle hydroplane:
·         shift to neutral (depress the clutch for a standard)
·         activate the hazard lights
·         grip the steering wheel firmly
·         avoid braking or accelerating
·         check your rear view mirror

The water resistance will slow your vehicle. As soon as the tires regain contact, brake gently to reduce your speed, re-engage the transmission, resume driving at a slower speed and turn off the hazard lights.

Worst time to drive-

Winter Driving- Things to think about.

Winter can be very harsh in this part of the country. This exacts a heavy toll on a vehicle. It is intelligent to make sure that your vehicle is well prepared and ready to cope with all of its rigors. Protocol requires the following precautions and they may save you a great deal of trouble and inconvenience.

·         ENGINE TUNE-UP to ensure that the fuel and ignition systems will perform in all conditions. The engine oil should be replaced with an engine oil of the correct viscosity for cold-weather. A block heater is a good investment to ensure starting in extreme cold.

·         THE FUEL SYSTEM should be protected from gas line freezing by keeping the fuel level as full as possible. Allow at least fifteen minutes of driving time to elapse after a fill-up before turning off the engine. This ensures moisture will pass through the system rather than collect at the bottom of the tank and in the fuel lines and freeze. In extreme cold, add gas line antifreeze at each fill-up.

·         THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM should be checked to make sure that the battery is charged and operates at maximum strength. The terminals should be cleaned. The alternator should be tested and the V-belt adjusted to ensure maximum efficiently.

·         THE TIRES should be of the correct type for the winter conditions in your area. All season or snow tires are recommended and should be installed before the onset of winter. The inflation pressure must conform to manufacturer's specifications and should be checked regularly.

·         THE COOLING/HEATING SYSTEM should be tested and the coolant anti-freeze level and concentration added to as needed. The system should be flushed every third year. The air ducts and fan should perform properly. Keep outlets clear.

·         THE BRAKE SYSTEM should be verified, adjusted and repaired as needed. It must respond effectively and precisely to pedal pressure to ensure control in critical winter driving conditions. The parking brake is part of the system and must also function properly.

·         THE WINDSHIELD WIPER/WASHER SYSTEM should have special winter wiper blades installed. The wiper arms should be checked to make sure they will last the season. Make sure that the washer fluid in the reservoir and in your trunk is appropriate for winter temperatures. 

·         THE EXHAUST SYSTEM should be checked for leaks and looseness all the way to the tailpipe. Winter conditions test the system severely.

·         THE LOCKS AND SEALS should be prepared for the rigors of winter. The locks should be lubricated with a product recommended by the manufacturer. The rubber seals around the doors and the trunk (hatchback) should also be treated with an appropriate product to prevent sticking and freezing.

A new venture

We are just getting this going so please keep tuned for new posts on tips, tricks and how to's to help the average kid (and adult) make it through traffic safety!