Do you know the difference between snow tires and regular tires? How
should you change your driving behavior in the event of ice or snow?
Put yourself to the test by reading these tips on how to handle your
car and yourself in winter weather.
For those of you in Sunbelt states where ice and snow are not an issue,
here are some things you can do to make yourself and others safer on
the road. It’s
never too late to learn how to be a better driver.
Here are the key differences between all season
and snow tires.
- All season tires are designed to handle
wet and dry surfaces, and some snow.
- Snow tires are specially constructed
to grip snowy surfaces. Even the rubber is specially
formulated to stay pliable in the cold and give
better traction on icy roads.
- The law
in your state may
require you to use snow tires and/or chains during
certain months of the
year. Check with your motor vehicle department.
tires are more prone to rapid treadwear. They also
need to be stored in a cool, dry place. Stacking
them on top of each other is recommended.
- Ask the
store where you purchased your snow tires for
free storage bags. These are thin plastic bags
to wrap the tires in. They protect the tires
from natural ozone in the air, which can cause
to dry out and crack.
Here are some other factors that might help you
decide whether you need snow tires:
- Think about what type of roads you usually
drive on, especially if you live in a rural area.
your streets get plowed when it snows?
- How urgent
is it that you get out and drive if it snows?
you are still unsure, consult your state’s
motor vehicle department for advice. Ask experienced
drivers for their opinion if you are new to the
your gas tank and windshield washer fluid reservoir
additional stopping distance on any road that
is not dry.
steer” to regain control in a
skid. Steer the car in the same direction that
the back end of the car is going.
the website of the National
Weather Service if you are planning
on driving a long distance or in another part
of the country. It’s always
good to know what weather to expect.
you can’t or don’t
want to continue your trip (due to car trouble, poor
pulling over to the side of the road may be the best
option. On busy, high speed roadways, your best bet
may be to exit and find a safe place to park. Here
are some things you should have
on hand just in case.
If you are in need of rescue, here’s what to
do to make you and your car easy to spot.
- Turn on your
- Hang a brightly colored distress flag (preferably red)
from your radio antenna or tuck one into a closed
- Turning on the inside dome light is another way to
help rescuers see you, but take care not to run
the car battery down.
the hood to indicate trouble once it has stopped
set out on foot unless you see a building close by where you
can take shelter. Remain
in your vehicle; rescuers are most likely to find
- Do not leave your car and proceed on foot until it
has at least stopped snowing. Follow the road,
so rescuers will see
- As always,
don’t accept a ride from someone you
While you wait for rescue or the end of snowfall:
- Conserve fuel, but run the engine and heater about
10 minutes each hour to keep warm. Be sure to crack
a window and keep
the exhaust pipe clear of snow to prevent carbon
- If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping
so that someone is always alert.
This is just a brief
overview. For more information, check out these resources:
Read these publications online
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