How can I better prepare for winter driving?
“Winter seems to come along about the same time every year, but my tires don’t know that,” quips Mike Rowe. “What should I know about winter driving? You tell me, and I’ll tell my tires.” Good thing for Rowe, Ford Senior Master Technician Jim Twitchell has it covered.
If you can follow a five-step checklist, winter driving is a cinch. The first thing you want to do is know the forecast. You can’t overestimate the simple awareness of whether it’s going to snow or sleet.Next, head to your local dealer for a tire inspection. How’s the inflation? What’s the tread depth like? It’s time to swap ’em out if the wear indicator is showing. Parking habits are also critical. If the vehicle sits in the same spot every day with the sun beating down on one side, the exposed surfaces will be prone to cracking.
Then consider your environment. Do you live in the city? Then roads will probably be plowed quickly. If you’re a little farther out, you might have to get over slush or snowpack on the road. Your situation will help you decide whether you need special equipment, like snow or mud tires that have deep studs to move water easily. If you’re like most people, a good all-weather tire will keep you prepared for unforeseen conditions. It all boils down to friction. That’s all that’s keeping you on the road and out of the snowbank.
Last, it’s not just about what you’re driving; it’s how. Keep your foot off the gas as much as you can. Don’t jam on the brakes. Take turns wide and slow. Attacking the road can cut your control in half, so take it easy.