Drivers have it rough in winter. Although some wear and tear on your car is unavoidable due to the frigid temperatures, thick snowfall, and icy roads, could you be unintentionally making matters worse? Some winter driving mistakes could cost you dearly. See what you should be doing in place of these five bad winter driving habits.
Habit 1: Using the Same Tires Throughout the Year
When winter sneaks up on you overnight, you might not bother changing out your tires. However, you can’t drive on snow and ice with the tires you used in the summer. In fact, when the temperature drops even slightly, summer tires might lose their effectiveness, resulting in poor braking and handling. Summer tires can become weakened by even the thinnest layer of ice on the road, endangering you and other drivers.
Before the cold weather hits hard, swap out your summer tires for winter tires.
Habit 2: Failing to Monitor Tire Pressure
Here’s a frightening fact: Your tire pressure drops as the temperature outside does. Your tires will last longer if you maintain the proper air pressure, and your car can be driven more smoothly and safely. Your tire pressure decreases by one pound per square inch for every ten-degree drop in temperature, and it doesn’t take long for the pressure to get dangerously low.
It’s best to keep a gauge in your car during winter so that you can check your tire pressure frequently.
Habit 3: Warming Your Car Up for Too Long
It’s not nice to drive in the cold early in the morning. However, don’t start your car and then go back inside your home to prepare breakfast. Even a short period of idle time can waste gasoline and damage your spark plugs, not to mention contribute to unneeded pollution. You only need to let your car warm up for 30 seconds or less in most cases.
Mistake 4: Not Keeping Enough Gas in the Tank
Most people are aware of the maximum distance their car can be driven after the arrow hits empty, but it is not a good idea to push these limits in winter. The air in your gas tank may freeze when your car is left outside in the cold weather.
Hence, take caution and stay on top of your gas gauge. You reduce the risk of your gas freezing by keeping your tank at least three-quarters full.
Mistake 5: Slamming Your Breaks and Overcorrecting on Icy Roads
You definitely learned this if you took your driver’s education in a cold climate. However, it’s easy to panic and forget about proper braking procedures when skidding on ice. Your car will probably spin out of control if you slam the brakes and jerk the steering wheel, increasing the likelihood of a harmful accident. Keep your motions gentle when driving on ice for the safety of everyone.
Have you been involved in a winter car accident? If you wish to speak to a lawyer for your personal injury or want to get legal assistance for a car accident, our team here at Corradino & Papa Law Firm will offer you a free consultation to access your options.