Winter in Southeast Virginia is not typically not as severe as in other places in the State or across the US, but this doesn't mean that winter driving in Hampton Roads is not without its risks. In making matters worse, many motorists do not practice safe driving during this particularly risky time of year, which makes it even more dangerous. Below are some tips on how to prepare your vehicle for the cold season, as well as what you need to do when you're on the road.
Now that the winter season is all but upon us, here are some useful preparedness tips that you should use:
Even though snow is not a common occurrence in Virginia, some occasional snow or icy roads are possible. Having summer tires or badly worn rubber won't provide you with the necessary traction in these conditions.
All-season tires are an excellent option for our area. Also, keep in mind that once the temperature begins to drop, the pressure in your tires will do the same. Make it a habit to check the pressure and maintain it following the manufacturer's recommendations. It will help you keep optimal traction on the road.
Wiper blades go through a lot of wear and tear throughout the year. Even if you changed them in the spring, it's possible that you will need a new set for the winter season.
Also, make sure that you have an ice scraper in the car to use to help clear a frosty windshield. Even a thin layer of frost can damage the rubber blades when you turn them on. It will further hamper your vision in bad weather. When using that ice scraper, remember to clear all the windows and mirrors, not only the windshield.
Heating and Blowing Systems
Having problems with the defroster in the middle of winter will result in your windows fogging up which will drastically reduce your visibility. Have your heating system professionally inspected to
ensure optimal performance.
And while you're at it, make sure that you have winter washer fluid in the system. When temperatures go below freezing point, regular fluid will freeze. You will not be able to clear the windscreen of dirt and road salt that accumulates making visibility difficult.
Leaves, twigs, and other debris will find its way into the crevices of your car, especially during the fall. These areas are usually where water runs out, such as below the windshield, around the sunroof, and other such places. These will restrict airflow into the heating system. In some cases, it can also lead to additional internal system damage and possible future corrosion.
Winter Emergency Supplies
While some winters may not be as severe as others, it's always better to be safe than sorry. For this reason, you should still have one or two blankets, some bottled water, some snacks, and other such emergency supplies - just in case.
Winter Driving Tips
As for when you're on the road, keep in mind the following:
Snow accumulation on the undercarriage and wheel wells can result in vibration, which, in turn, may affect the steering. If this is the case, pull over and remove it.
Always have your headlights on, even during daytime as these can help you spot dangerous spots on the road, as well as it helps other drivers to see you better.
Winter conditions almost always imply that your braking time will be longer. Slow down your driving speed and keep a reasonable distance back from the vehicle ahead of you.
Do not use cruise control during icy or snowy conditions as you cannot react quickly to changing road and traffic conditions.
Driving safely in winter conditions is a responsibility that all drivers need to share. But unfortunately, however, this is not always the case. Keep in mind that other motorists may not be as prepared or as cautious as you are. The experienced staff at Mike Dumans Auto Superstore can help you be prepared and stay safe.