Winter Driving Safety Tips

With Christmas travel fast approaching and snow in the Arizona mountains, Sanderson Ford offers a Top 10 list of driving tips to help you and your families stay safe on the roads this season. 

10. DO allow extra time to brush and scrape your vehicle and don’t forget to bring a scraper with you!  With frost in the valley and snow up north, clearing windows is crucial for visibility and removing snow or ice from the top of your car will spare cars behind you from encountering an unexpected snow assault.  DON’T forget to clean snow and ice off your headlights and taillights as well.

9. DO top off your windshield wiper washer with winterized fluid to make sure it doesn’t freeze or crack, preventing you from washing away dirt and salt.  DON’T try to melt ice from your windshield by pouring hot water on it. Using hot water can crack the windshield.

8. DO wash your car when you return to remove salt and dirt from the roadways.

7. DO keep at least half a tank of gas to prevent stranding yourself in adverse conditions or closed highways. DON’T forget to check that all fluids are at proper levels and ensure all tires, including the spare, have the required pressure and tread.

6. DO prepare your car for an emergency.  Make sure you have a blanket to stay warm, proper attire (boots, jacket, hat and gloves) in case you have to be outside for an extended period of time, a shovel, flashlight with fresh batteries and snacks. Keep your cell phone charged.  Be familiar with it’s GPS capabilities in case you need to call for help.  DON’T forget the kitty litter or sand, to use for added traction if your car becomes stuck in the snow.  

5. DO stay aware of what’s around you on the road, including checking your blind spots and keeping an eye out for pedestrians.  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.

4. DO apply even pressure when braking in slick conditions if your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes. Keep in mind anti-lock brakes do not shorten stopping distance, but they do help you maintain control.  DON’T become overconfident in electronic safety features your car may have.   Always test road conditions with cautious driving when the surface area is wet or icy, particularly on bridges and overpasses. 

3. DO turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide when driving on snowy or icy roads until you gain control.  DON’T apply power or change directions suddenly on snow or ice.

2. DO stay calm if you find yourself stuck in the snow or broken down on the side of the road in bad conditions.  DON’T leave your car unless available shelter is near. If you need to run the engine to stay warm, make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow so the interior stays clear of harmful carbon monoxide.

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DO stay awake and alert behind the wheel. If necessary, take a break and grab a coffee. 

As Arizona residents, we sometimes forget what it is like to drive in these conditions.  Don’t be caught in a bad situation and enjoy your holidays. 

Merry Christmas from the employees and owners of Sanderson Ford!

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