Besides the below freezing temperatures, limited daylight and influenza probably one of the worst aspects of winter is driving.
The obvious solution is to take it slow on the roads. But, just to make sure I have everything covered, I asked Eric Wittig who is an Auto Collision Repair Technician at Carstar, 1231 W. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire what are some common problems and tips for driving in these winter months.
If your vehicle starts to slide, turn into it and let off the gas. He said that anti-lock brake technology has come a long way and that you don’t need to pump the brakes if you feel the vehicle slipping, just let the ABS take over.
When the roads are icy and a deer darts in front of your vehicle don’t swerve to avoid it. Wittig says to brake as hard as you can for the conditions because if you swerve to miss it you could lose control and hit other vehicles, ditches, trees or something else.
“I've seen many cars get totaled out from trying to miss a deer and causing much worse damage instead,” he said.
Another way to improve your vehicle’s handling is by investing in a second set of wheels paired with snow tires.
He advises to not be overconfident just because your SUV or truck has an all-wheel or four-wheel drive system. It’s handy to help you get out of a ditch or drive through deep snow, but it isn’t a silver bullet solution for winter driving.
Especially when it’s dangerously cold, remember to keep your gas tank full. Wittig said there are two reasons for this. If you get stuck, a full tank of gas allows you to run the engine and stay warm until help arrives. Also, if you're running on empty, cold temperatures can allow moisture to condense into water in your tank. This water can freeze in your fuel system and cause damage or keep your vehicle from starting.
Take the time in the morning to clean all the snow off your vehicle before you drive. If you take off with snow on your vehicle it can blow off and land on someone’s vehicle. In addition, snow can hide your break lights.
When the weather warms up for a moment, try to wash your vehicle. But, if the weather forecast predicts freezing temperatures for an extended period of time make sure to kick off any packed snow and ice from your wheel wells. If it builds up enough it can bind against the tires.