The weather outside is frightful – but driving in it can actually be delightful! There are a few do’s and don’t’s that we always like to remind ourselves of at this time of year and thought we’d share them with you, since the rest of this month equates to travel for the lot of us.
We mentioned in the title not to melt ice with hot water. Specifically, never pour hot water onto your windshield, as it can crack the glass. However, do use winterized windshield wiper fluid to ensure your wiper sprayer doesn’t freeze over or crack. And we know the “vacation” you’re on is often far from being a truly relaxing vacation with a leisurely pace, but make sure you do set aside a few spare moments to be able to clear snow and ice from the windows so you have visibility. An easy thing to forget: clear snow and ice from your headlights and taillights, too.
Now, it might seem like an odd idea to wash your car these days, but it will remove road salt and dirt; that grime can prematurely age the body of your vehicle. Guess maybe we need to think about taking showers more often if lack of bathing equals premature aging.
Mom always told us to make sure we never had less than a half a tank of fuel in case of an emergency, and in winter her advice is even more sound, because the last thing you need is to get stranded. But since Ford vehicles have fuel efficiency in mind, thanks to the EcoBoost® engines, electric power-assisted steering and hybrid technology, you’ll be getting the most out of that tank! Also make sure fluid levels are where they should be and that your tires, including the spare, have the proper air pressure and tread.
OK, so you’ve packed the car with all the presents and other festive necessities, but make sure you save room for emergency items, like a blanket to stay warm, boots/jacket/hat/gloves for if you have to be outside, a shovel, a flashlight (make sure the batteries are fresh) and snacks. And above all, make sure your cell phone is fully charged! Kitty litter or sand are also good to pack, as they can be used as additional traction should your car get stuck in the snow. And if you do get stuck in the snow or are broken down, don’t leave your car unless shelter is nearby. If you need to run the engine to stay warm, make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow; you want the interior to stay free of carbon monoxide.
Speaking of traction and driving, both can indeed be tricky in inclement weather, so remember to watch out for blind spots and pedestrians; people can be very distracted this time of year! While you may get frustrated by people poking along in front of you as they look at holiday lights or try to sort out unfamiliar surroundings, don’t follow too closely; the general rule is the vehicle ahead should pass a road marker two seconds before you. In slippery conditions, it is recommended to double the amount of space between you and the vehicle in front.
If the roads do get slick, apply even pressure when braking if your vehicle has antilock brakes. Turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide on snowy or icy roads until you gain control. Don’t apply power or suddenly change directions on snow or ice.
And finally, be awake and alert behind the wheel. Taking breaks or grabbing a coffee are good things to do! And don’t drink and drive if you’ve had too much to drink at a party. Be safe out there!