Be prepared, driving in winter weather isn't always fun or safe - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Be prepared, driving in winter weather isn't always fun or safe

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A wintry mix of ice and snow can have you slip sliding around on the roads. Having the knowledge and the tools to prepare your car for your commute is key.

Experts at Goodyear use "HEAT" to beat harsh road conditions.

H.E.A.T.

H - Handle Your Car With Care

• Make sure to clean all debris off your entire vehicle before driving. This includes the hood, roof, trunk and all windows.

• To protect your paint from harsh winter road salt invest in a winter paint protectant that can be applied like a wax but will last through the winter months.

E - Emergency Preparedness

• Keep a survival kit in your car that includes:

  • A flashlight with fresh batteries, a blanket, food bars, water bottles, cell phone charger, jumper cables, flares, a HELP sign, and a first aid kit. A survival kit may seem unnecessary, but could save your life if you get stranded in extreme conditions.

A - Awareness of your surroundings

• Try to avoid all distractions because driving in harsh winter weather requires concentration. Try to avoid activities such as eating, drinking and cell phone use because these distractions can result in over-steering and abrupt braking.

• When driving in inclement weather it's crucial to keep both hands on the steering wheel, check your mirrors and pay full attention to the road and vehicles around you.

T - Temperature Is Key!

• Cold weather reduces tire pressure, so check and adjust your tire pressure frequently. Don't forget to keep your valve caps on. If left off, moisture can freeze in the valve and allow the air to escape.

• While checking tire pressure, perform the quick "penny test" to see if you need new tires. With a penny inserted upside-down in the tread grooves of the tire, if you see the top of Lincoln's head, it's time for new tires.

• Winter tires aren't just for snow; the temperature matters, too.

• During the winter months, spend extra time checking car parts, such as wiper blades, battery, antifreeze and oil levels.

WHAT TO DO WHEN THINGS GET DICEY

GEICO tells drivers keep a cool head when an icy road has them sliding.

  • Don't panic.
  • Don't slam on brakes
  • Take your foot off of the gas
  • Steer your car in the direction you want to go (and clear of other cars, trees, telephone poles, etc.)
  • Wait for the car to slow down so you can regain control

GEICO digs you out of the snow with these tips:

  • Don't spin your wheels – this will dig you deeper into the snow
  • Determine the shortest path to solid ground
  • Clear the snow around the front and rear tires
  • Places salt or kitty litter in front of the rear and front tires
  • Keep the front tires straight and begin to slowly accelerate   
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