Spring Driving

Warmer weather doesn’t mean the roads are safer for drivers.

Now that you’ve survived driving in one of the most brutal winters in our nation’s history, getting around in spring should be a breeze, right? Not exactly.

Spring presents its own unique challenges to motorists, experts say. For starters, there can be a “letting your guard down” mentality that sets in as the ice and snow have melted away, and pure giddiness over rising temperatures prompts a sense of abandonment. But there are special, seasonal challenges that drivers need to keep in mind.

With that, here are some tips:

  • Realize that a wet road can be just as slick as an icy one. Tires will hydroplane and lose contact with the road, which is as dangerous as hitting pure ice. Also, rain causes oil dripped from passing vehicles to rise to the top of the water surface, increasing the slick factor. Stay in the middle lanes as water tends to pool in the outside ones, according to SmartMotorist, a nonprofit that seeks to promote safe driving.
  • Increase the distance between you and the vehicle you’re following in the rain. Three seconds is considered a safe distance in normal circumstances. During a storm, increase this to eight seconds. The three second rule is a simple way to double-check that you are driving at a safe following distance. Choose a fixed point (like a road sign or a building) that is even with the car in front of you. If you reach that same fixed point before you can count to three, then you’re driving too close to the car in front of you and you need to fall back a bit.
  • Replace worn tires. Worn treads will cause a loss of traction, increasing your chances of sliding. Also, even if the tread is fine, you need to make sure the tires are properly inflated. An easy way to check that your tire has an acceptable tread is to do the penny test. Simply put a penny into the groove of the tread. If you can see Lincoln’s head, your tire needs repairing. Find out more about tire safety here: http://tampabaydrivingschool.com/?p=2625
  • Check wiper blades. A winter’s worth of snow, ice and salt can beat down the wipers, so you may need to replace those, too. Also, clean your windshield with good window washer to improve wiper performance. This will also remove oily film that can reduce visibility, according to CarJunky.com, an automotive parts and maintenance site. You should also clean the inside of the glass to remove film that increases moisture buildup.
  • Be on the lookout. Spring is also Pothole Season. In places that snow and ice have dominated the winter months, the spring thaw can cause dangerous potholes. Avoid them if you can, but if not, don’t brake while traveling over them. Slow down, release the brake before impact and go over the pothole. Braking causes your tire to slam into the edge of the pothole with more force than if you’re rolling over the hole.
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Tire Safety

Remember, these are the only things between your car and the road.

Tire Safety

The last thing most people consider in the new car buying process is the set of tires that come with the vehicle. We tend to gravitate towards the style and performance, the color, whether it fits our lifestyle or not, the ergonomic comfort of its interior, the sound system, and if it’ll fit into our budget.

We unconsciously assume if the car is new that the tires are fine and don’t give them a second thought nor do most of us ever take the time to ask questions or read the manual about tire care and safety. Yet our lives, and those of our children and other loved ones, ride on them every day. How important are all those extra goodies that you added on if you get a flat on the side of the freeway at midnight and you’re by yourself? If you’re lucky someone will stop to help.

The most important feature on a vehicle that you must consider is tires. Turning, stopping and emergency maneuvers all depend on your tires being in good condition and properly inflated. Great drivers can walk up to their vehicle and notice an under-inflated tire and others can get in a vehicle with a flat tire and drive away. Which are you?

TIRE INFORMATION

  • TIRE TREAD The amount of tread remaining on a tire impacts handling, traction, and stopping distance. As a tire wears and the tread depth is reduced, these characteristics begin to diminish.
  • TIRE AGING When it comes to tire aging, it is very simple: the older the tires are, the higher the risk for failure.
  • TIRE INFLATION A tire must be able to hold the weight of not only the vehicle, but also any additional load the vehicle might be carrying such as fuel, passengers, and payload.
  • TIRE MAINTENANCE Proper and Timely tire maintenance is crucial to safety. All of the tires on your vehicle should be inspected, inflated, and rotated on a routine basis.

The more you know about your tire’s health, the better off you will be driving.

Here are 4 more reasons tires are so important: https://www.mccluskeychevrolet.com/reasons-your-cars-tires-are-so-important/

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