While winter can be one of the most beautiful times of the year, it comes with some of the most challenging driving conditions. Snow, slush and ice decrease visibility and stopping time for drivers and increase the chances of an accident.
These factors remind us why it's important to prepare your vehicle for winter travel. Here are some safety tips from tire experts to ensure that your family is ready for wintertime expeditions:
Install Winter Tires
Did you know that if you can see your breath, you should consider installing winter tires on your vehicle? This is especially true if you live in an area that sees harsh winter conditions, such as high snowfall and black ice.
Winter tires provide levels of traction that all-season and summer tires can’t provide in winter conditions. While all-wheel drive can be helpful, it only helps provide forward momentum in snow and doesn’t aid in stopping or steering the vehicle.
“If you deal with regular snow and ice, or it is consistently below 45 degrees where you live, winter tires are the safest bet for your vehicle, even if conditions are dry,” said Bryan Courol, manager of Discount Tire in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “We recommend installing winter tires early to avoid the rush and be safe as soon as possible.”
Get a Tuneup and Air Pressure Check
Before any long road trips, visit your mechanic for a tuneup and other routine maintenance for your vehicle. Have it checked for any leaks, bad parts, needed repairs and replacements.
Also, be sure that your tires are properly inflated. You can find the recommended pressure on your vehicle’s tire placard (usually located on the driver’s door) or in your owner’s manual.
Check Your Spare Tire
Be sure to check your spare tire if your car is equipped with one. Having a fully functioning spare is always important, but never more than during hazardous winter months. When you inspect your spare, it is recommended that you check the tread depth, air pressure and age of the tire.
Keep Your Distance
Vehicles are not as quick to react in snow, so be sure to drive slowly and keep a longer following distance between you and other vehicles. This allows for more response time and helps you make more controlled stops and starts.
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