Winter Safe Driving Tips

March 1, 2018

Windshields Should be Cleared in the Winter

It is a part of winter driving that happens all too often, you will have to get ice off the outside of the windshield, but inside a fog clouds your vision. Clearing a foggy windshield up is not as simple as turning on the defroster. Keeping your window clear in the winter is all about balancing the warmth and moisture inside your car with the cold, dry air on the outside. Too much moisture, and your cabin will reach the dew point, which leads to fog on the window. Until the inside is dry, your glass will remain fogged. There are some tips you can do to help eliminate this issue when driving. You will want to make sure the windshield is clean and dirt is removed. Dirt on the inside of your windshield gives moisture more to cling to. Use a good glass cleaner to remove any film or dirt that may have collected on your windshield. Before turning on the defroster, give your car’s heating system a few minutes to warm up. The air duct temperature needs to reach about 130 degrees before the defrost mechanism becomes effective, but make sure not to leave your car when it’s operating, because your car can get stolen. Once you turn the defroster on, turn it up high. You need to cover 90 percent of the glass with air in very poor weather, like freezing rain or snow and very cold temperatures, in order for the defroster to work effectively. Make sure that you are taking in fresh air from the outside of the car, if it’s snowing, clear the outside vents before pulling out of the driveway, by turning the recirculate button off. If you are recirculating air it can mean that moisture never leaves the cabin and de-fogging the windows becomes very difficult, if not impossible. If the defroster does not work for your vehicle, make sure to schedule an appointment and we can inspect the vehicle for you.
January 23, 2018

Driving Tips for Winter Roads

When driving in the winter, you will want to make sure you follow some tips and guidelines to ensure you have the safest driving experience. Allow yourself the extra time to drive more slowly. Other motorists will be driving slowly, and overtaking may not be an option. You don’t need the extra stress of being late for an appointment. Clear the snow off of all the windows and mirrors before you drive. This prevents snow falling and impairing your vision, or the vision of other drivers. Don’t leave a lot of snow on the roof. It has been known to slide forward under braking and cover the windshield. Also remember to clear front and rear lights, so other people can see you and your signals. Driving in snow requires anticipation of other road users behavior, as much as looking after your own car. Watch the behavior of oncoming traffic; you may have to avoid them if they slide towards you. Try to leave a 10 second gap between you and the car in front. The 10 second gap allows for increased stopping distances, and gives you time to respond if the car in front has problems. If they stop, you may have time and space to steer a different course, or by slowing down you can allow time for the obstruction to clear without having to stop and restart yourself. Normally you should follow a car at least three seconds, but this should increase if the weather or road conditions are poor. Also be aware of where ice might be. Look for reflections in the road surface ahead; what looks like water, may be ice. One of the first signs of slippery conditions is if the steering becomes lighter to turn. The action of Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) is felt as a vibration of the brake pedal. If you recognize that sensation, it can give you early warning of slippery conditions. If roads are slippery you may see these dashboard warning lights flash when wheel spin is detected under acceleration. They indicate that ABS is being used to slow the fastest turning wheel, or the accelerator is being reduced momentarily. Bright sun and a warm wind can quickly thaw ice, but leave patches in sheltered areas, so be vigilant where a wall casts a shadow over the road. Also remember that the braking may be affected on bad roads. Brake gently without locking the wheels. If you have ABS, it will repeatedly release the brakes momentarily and then re-apply them, to keep the wheels going round enough for you to steer. Always be aware of the vehicles around you, and allow enough space.
December 29, 2017

Tips for Driving in the Winter

  With cold temperatures comes the chance for ice and snow to cover the surface of the roads. You will want to make sure that you know the weather conditions and the conditions of the roads when you travel. If either are less than ideal, then make sure to take your time and slow down. By taking your time, you can help reduce the chance of an accident or going in the ditch.   The tires should be inspected regularly in the winter. They should be properly inflated to the amount determined in the vehicle owner’s manual. For every ten degrees the temperature drops, the tire pressure usually decreases by about one pound. Maintaining the proper tire pressure can help to improve the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. It can also give you better traction on slippery roads. The tires should also be inspected so they have enough tread to grip the roads better with. You can test the amount of tread the tires have by taking a penny and placing it upside down in the tread. If you can see Lincoln’s head, the tread is extremely low.   Another thing to do this winter is to watch the road as you drive. When driving in the winter, also watch the roads for any slick spots. Bridges and overpasses generally freeze before other parts of the pavement. If you notice that the road conditions are less than ideal, make sure to slow down to allow enough time, space, and handling of your vehicle. Only drive at a speed that you are comfortable at. If you start to notice poor handling with your vehicle or if it swerves, slow down to stay safe.   Keep the windshield washer fluid topped off by using an antifreeze version in the winter. This can help to ensure the reservoir does not freeze and crack. It can also help to ensure that the washer pump will continue to operate properly when you might need it. If you notice an issue with your vehicle, make sure to bring it in as soon as possible.
February 2, 2017

Remember to Check the Windshield Washer Fluid

Windshield wiper fluid is a liquid that is used with the wiper blades to clean the windshield of your vehicle. This green mixture is housed under the hood of the vehicle and is pumped through a small hose that is attached to your wiper blades or at the base of the windshield on the hood. By pushing the button that is typically located on the lever that controls the wiper blades, the fluid is activated and provides you with a spot free windshield. By topping off the windshield wiper fluid, you can help improve the visibility when you drive.   The windshield wiper fluid is alcohol-based to prevent it from freezing in the cold winter months. Generally windshield wiper fluid contains about thirty to fifty percent methanol with very little detergent. Since windshield wiper fluid contains poisonous ingredients that can be harmful, it is important that it is stored out of the reach of children and pets. Some fluids contain a de-icer, which helps get the frost and ice off your windshield in colder weather. While windshield wiper fluid is not necessary in the operation of your vehicle, it is recommended, as it can save you from a dangerous situation if your vision through your windshield becomes impaired.   When you check the windshield washer fluid, also remember to check the windshield wipers. When you check the wipers, make sure that the blades are in the best condition. This includes any signs of tears or rips that might be on the rubber of the blade. If the windshield wipers are vibrating or skipping when they operate, it may be time to purchase new ones. If you are unsure how often the windshield wipers will have to be replaced, make sure to bring the vehicle in. We can then inspect the windshield wipers for you. We can also check the condition they are in at any time. If the wipers need to be replaced, it can also be done when you bring the vehicle in.   Windshield wiper fluid cannot go bad, but it is good to check it regularly to make sure it is filled and is not dirty or leaking. If your wipers are not fully wiping the area clean and are leaving smears, it might be more than just a problem with your windshield wiper fluid. It may signify that your windshield wipers or inserts need to be replaced. If your blades look corroded or if they are falling apart then it is probably time to consider purchasing a new set. By performing routine checkups on your vehicles wipers and fluid you catch problems more quickly and make your driving time on the road much safer. If you notice an issue with your vehicle, make sure to bring it in as soon as possible so we can inspect it for you.