Caution is King When It Comes to Winter Driving
(BPT) - With the winter in full swing, ensuring your tires — the last line of defense between your vehicle and harsh conditions — are in working order may be the difference between an enjoyable or stressful travel season. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17% of all vehicle collisions take place during winter conditions, many of which can be attributed to underinflated, over-worn or out-of-season tires.
“Being on the side of the road due to a preventable vehicle issue is both inconvenient and dangerous,” said Brandon Sturgis, product manager, BFGoodrich Tires. “Before winter arrives, make sure that your car is in its best condition to handle winter weather.”
Below are a few simple tips from BFGoodrich Tires to help ensure your vehicle and tires are better prepared for safe driving this winter.
Tire pressure will change with the weather
Many drivers neglect their tires until it’s too late and experience a tire issue, an inconvenience that only increases during the winter months. To avoid a winter accident caused by unsafe tires, drivers should proactively take measures to maintain their tires. An easy first step is to check the air pressure of all four tires at least monthly. This is especially important during the colder winter months as a drop in temperatures can cause tire pressures to decrease below a vehicle’s recommended inflation levels. To find the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, look at the decal in the driver’s door jamb or in the owner’s manual.
Checking your tread should be routine
Many drivers try squeezing as much life out of their tires as possible and run them even after the tread has worn below 2/32 of an inch — the minimum tread deemed safe under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. If this is you, be sure to stay honest about checking your tread. To do so, find a penny and insert Abraham Lincoln headfirst into the lowest tread on your tire. If any portion of Abe’s head is covered, your tread depth is sufficient. If Honest Abe is still fully visible, your tread is below 2/32 of an inch and the ability to perform in wet and winter conditions is substantially reduced.
The importance of seasonal tires
Understanding your driving environment is as important as understanding which tires best suit your circumstances. Geography is the most intuitive factor playing into one’s driving environment, but certain locations create a more nuanced experience. Do you know which tires are best for your situation?
For example, all-terrain tires such as the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 are suitable year-round tires designed to give you superior grip both off and on the pavement thanks to innovative tread design, tough sidewalls and long-lasting durability.
If you drive in an environment that is regularly below freezing with snow and ice, winter tires may be your best choice. For those yet to treat their vehicle to winter tires during the cold months, consider the BFGoodrich Winter T/A KSI a good starting point. Offering extreme traction in winter conditions and reassuring steering control and durability, your next set of winter tires may keep you from becoming another winter driving collision statistic.
“Tires play a key role in your winter weather mobility. Knowing what kind of tires you have on your car and knowing their condition are part of being prepared,” says Sturgis.
(BPT) - In the popular Christmas carol, the best way to reach grandmother's house is to travel by sleigh over the river and through the woods. However, these days, most people find their personal vehicles a far more reliable option.
The holidays are the busiest travel time of the year, and according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 91 percent of all long-distance travelers will rely on their personal vehicle to get them to grandmother's house, or wherever they may be headed. Unfortunately, the winter season is also the most dangerous time of year for road conditions. Keep that in mind before you head over the river or through the woods this season, and make sure to apply these five winter driving tips from Michelin.
* Brake, don't panic. In slippery road conditions, your wheels may lock and slide when you apply the brake. If this happens to you, don't panic. Release your foot from the brake to slow the skid's momentum and recover traction, then slowly apply the brake again.
* Outfit your vehicle with the right tires. If you frequently encounter snow or ice, and the temperature consistently approaches freezing (32F), you need the extra grip of winter tires, even if you have a four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle. Winter tires are designed to perform better in a wide range of winter conditions by improving your vehicle's grip and shortening braking distances. Include switching to winter tires on your seasonal projects list to keep you safer on the road.
* Turn cautiously. In slippery conditions, turns present the greatest potential for an accident, so as you approach a turn, be sure to slow your speed and maintain that speed throughout the turn. Do not accelerate; a sudden change in speed could cause you to lose control. You should also avoid braking during a turn to reduce your skid risk. Brake in the straightaway before the turn and move through the turn at a slower, controlled speed.
* Love the lane you're in. Changing lanes can increase your chances of a spin out. If the roads are icy or covered in slush, these conditions are apt to be worse on the shoulders and in less traveled lanes, so avoid them if you can. Find the lane that works best for you and stay there as long as possible.
* Get defensive. You've long heard about the importance of defensive driving and this practice is invaluable during the winter months. Just as you are struggling with the road conditions, so are the drivers around you - particularly if they were not driving respective to the weather in the first place. So slow down, allow that car in front of you some extra room and don't cut off any other motorists. The more you prepare for your own safety, the easier it will be for others to do the same.
Celebrating the drive home
The drive home is an iconic holiday tradition for many Americans and to celebrate it this year, Michelin will once again sponsor the America's Car Museum (ACM) and North American International Auto Show's Drive Home. This year's event, called the Heritage Run, starts on Dec. 27 in Boston and ends on Jan. 7 in Detroit. The 12-day, 10-state, 2,150-mile jaunt will be traveled by three iconic American cars from the ACM, the 1957 Chevrolet Nomad, the 1961 Chrysler 300G and the 1966 Ford Mustang all fitted with modern winter tires for added safety. You can learn more about the Drive Home and how to follow it yourself by visiting Americascarmuseum.org.
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