Orlando, Fla.—As we are getting used to these low temperatures in this part of the country, whether we like it or not, we need to practice extreme caution while driving. Due to our beautiful weather conditions year-round many Floridians are either untrained to or don’t practice enough certain rules of thumb for driving in winter conditions like snow or icy roads.
That means, most of our cars are not even prepared for “winter.” There are certain steps you must take before the extreme cold weather approaches us. For example, you should get a tune up anti-freeze solutions that are inappropriate or weak can damage your car’s cooling system.
Your battery’s connections must be clean and free of corrosion. A bad battery can leave you stranded in bad weather conditions and we can almost guarantee you will not have a joyful moment.
Heaters and defrosters are key for being able to ride. Also, for us here in Florida, since we don’t have to deal with much of these and we can simply stay indoors a couple of days to avoid discomfort, you should allow around 15 minutes during the morning to allow your windshield defrost. The implication for us is, that if you need to be at work or school at certain time, you need to schedule your way out earlier to make sure you still make it on time. You can even consider new windshield blades.
Obviously, you should ensure your tires are in good condition and experts recommend that you never mix radial tires with other types of tires.
Two other things of uttermost importance are keeping your brakes in good condition. You need to know that if you have anti-lock brakes and you slide, you must avoid pumping them. Safety folks preach, “Stomp, stay, steer.” Stomp, hard, on the brake pedal. Your anti-lock brakes are responsible for keeping the wheels from skidding under hard braking.
And last but not least, when we get those ‘below freezing temperatures’ keeping your gas tank more than half full can help prevent freezing fuel lines.
Once we have taken care of all the preps, here comes the part that falls all on us:
- Drive slowly
- If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather
- Do not use cruise control in wintery conditions
- Look and steer in the direction you want to go
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly
- Increase following distance to 8 to 10 seconds
Severe weather can be both frightening and dangerous for automobile travel. Motorists should know the safety rules for dealing with winter road emergencies. Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
It is important to do everything that’s necessary to keep us safe not only for us, but for those loved ones who may be at home expecting you come back “alive and kicking.”
ENJOY LIFE RESPONSIBLY!