Ford Offers Top 10 Safe Winter Driving Do’s and Don’ts
Well, winter has officially arrived in the Ask Patty Nation (the Winter Solstice is still inexplicably regarded as the "first day of winter," even though it's actually Midwinter, and the days begin getting longer from here, but that's a point for another post on another blog, probably) and this weekend we'll be counting down to begin 2012 in style. But before we pop the champagne, Ford has brought us a different kind of countdown - the safety kind. Here are Ford's own Top Ten Winter Driving Do's and Don'ts. Give them a once-over, and one of them may just save a life this winter.
Head past the jump for the list.
10. DO allow a few minutes to brush and scrape your vehicle. Clearing windows is crucial for visibility and removing snow or ice from the top of your car will spare cars behind you from encountering an unexpected snow assault, impairing visibility or even cracking a windshield.
DON’T forget to clean snow and ice off your headlights and taillights as well.
9. DO use winterized windshield wiper fluid to make sure your wiper sprayer doesn’t freeze over or crack, preventing you from washing away dirt and salt.
DON’T try to melt ice from your windshield by pouring hot water on it. Using hot water can crack the windshield.
8. DO wash your car regularly to remove salt and dirt from the roadways.
DON’T let road grime prematurely age the body of your vehicle by neglecting to bathe it.
7. DO maintain at least half a tank of gas to prevent unnecessarily stranding yourself in adverse conditions. To help get the most out of your tank, Ford offers fuel-saving technologies such as its EcoBoost® engines, electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) and hybrid electric vehicles.
DON’T forget to check that all fluids are at proper levels and ensure all tires, including the spare, have the required pressure and tread.
6. DO prepare your car for an emergency. Essential items to keep in the trunk are a blanket to stay warm, proper attire (boots, jacket, hat and gloves) in case you have to be outside for an extended period of time, a shovel, flashlight with fresh batteries and snacks. Keep your cell phone charged to call help if necessary.
DON’T forget the kitty litter or sand, which can be used to provide added traction if your car becomes stuck in the snow.
5. DO remain aware of what’s around you on the road, including checking your blind spots and keeping an eye out for pedestrians or lost reindeer from Santa’s sleigh.
DON’T follow too closely. The general rule is the vehicle ahead should pass a road marker two seconds before you. In slippery conditions, it is recommended to double the amount of space between you and the vehicle in front.
4. DO apply even pressure when braking in slick conditions if your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes. Keep in mind anti-lock brakes do not shorten stopping distance, but they do help you maintain control.
DON’T become overconfident in snowy and slippery road conditions. Always test road conditions with cautious driving when the surface area is wet or icy, particularly on bridges and overpasses.
3. DO turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide when driving on snowy or icy roads until you gain control.
DON’T apply power or change directions suddenly on snow or ice.
2. DO stay calm if you find yourself stuck in the snow or broken down on the side of the road in adverse conditions.
DON’T leave your car unless available shelter is close by. If you need to run the engine to stay warm, make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow so the interior stays clear of harmful carbon monoxide.
1. DO make sure you are awake and alert behind the wheel. If necessary, take a break and grab a coffee.
DON’T lose track of how many eggnogs you consumed at the holiday party. The most important holiday safe driving tip of all is to refrain from drinking and driving under all circumstances. If you think you will drink, arrange for alternate transportation ahead of time.