Learn These Four Winter Driving Myths to Stay Safe in a Snowstorm

Link to Accuweather Article — “Learn These Four Winter Driving Myths to Stay Safe in a Snowstorm.”

An interesting article that challenges assumptions of many casual motorists regarding winter weather driving techniques.  What do you think?

From the source article:

In order to stay safe, motorists should steer clear of these four winter driving myths:

    1. Winter Tires Aren’t a Necessity: “Most people think a winter tire is just for ice and snow, but it is better performing on cold pavement,” Director of Bridgestone Winter Driving School Mark Cox said.  Unlike summer or all-season tires, which get hard in cold air, winter tires stay pliable down to the lowest temperatures, according to Cox. These tires also stick well to the pavement in wintry conditions.
    2. All-Wheel Drive is Invincible in the Snow:  While all-wheel drive splits grip between four tires instead of two thus allowing the driver a greater margin of error, simply having all-wheel drive does not enable a person to be necessarily safer in the snow.  “All wheel-drive creates a false sense of confidence, people assume that the vehicle stops and corners better but that is not the case,” Cox said. “When it comes to turning and stopping, all vehicles are created equal.”
    3. All-Season Tires are Fine for Winter:  Sneakers can be worn in the summer and the winter, but a person gets better comfort and performance if they wear sandals in the summer and snow boots in the winter. The same goes for tires, Cox explains.  “An all-season tire is a compromise, it is engineered to be medium in the summer and medium in the winter,” Cox said.  Due to the engineering of an all-season tire, these tires do not stay as soft as a winter tire in lower temperatures and as a result are simply not as effective in colder weather.
    4. For Better Traction, Under Inflate Tires:  This legendary myth is far from the truth, as under inflation of a tire takes away from performance, effectiveness and safety. “When temperatures are dropping you lose one pound of inflation for every 10-degree drop in temperature,” Cox said. Under inflation can actually damage tires when withstanding winter weather. For the best performance, tires should be inflated to the car’s manufacturers recommended inflation rate which is listed on the inside of the car door.

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Winter Driving Tips from NHTSA

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NHTSA has provided an excellent resource for drivers of any type of vehicle — if you’re going to be driving in winter conditions you’ll want to check out these links:

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Are You Ready for Winter Driving?

During 2011, December 22nd signals the start of Winter.  Are you ready for Winter Driving?

Winter conditions vary greatly throughout the USA and Canada.  Fog, rain, snow, sleet can occur at different elevations and only miles apart from areas where it’s relatively clear and sunny.  Even on a “nice day” the lower angle of the sun on the horizon can contribute to road glare and make it difficult to judge the positions of other vehicles in their lanes.  Traffic congestion, especially in urban areas, can increase dramatically causing delays and frustration for drivers.

Appropriate preparations for this season will also vary slightly, too.  Have you gotten your vehicle and your attitude toward driving set to go?

While most people have heard about the various precautions and preparations, now is a great time to remind employees, family members and friends of their responsibilities as they drive during these changing conditions.

There are four key strategies to dealing with winter driving:

  1. Prepare your vehicle for winter conditions
  2. Prepare yourself for winter driving techniques
  3. Prepare for emergencies such as mechanical breakdown or crash
  4. Watch out for other drivers who are not prepared

Each of these four strategies is covered in our monthly driver training kit that has already been sent to the supervisors at our 3,800 clients.  However, if you missed out on that dispatch, there are a number of great web sites available with summaries of the most important points:

 General Tips:

Most state department of motor vehicles publish tips related to their particular area of the country.  Here’s only one example:

Many also publish information in additional languages to help their residents who may not master English as their primary language:

 SUMMARY

Whether you encounter, snow, fog, or rain in your area of the country, how you choose to prepare for and respond to these conditions will determine your success in dealing with them.  Remember that it is not only how you drive, but also being prepared for the “other driver” and the “unexpected” events that can occur like a mechanical breakdown. 

If you need additional help getting prepared for Winter Driving, please let us know.  We can share a courtesy copy of our training package with you to help with your family driving, office commute or commercial vehicle operations. 

If you plan to drive in a way that minimizes your risks of collision, then you can say with confidence that “Safety Is My Goal“.  Thanks for doing your part to improve safety results on the road.

Surviving Winter Weather

Each month, we send a “Ten-Minute Training Topic” to each of our 3,800+ fleet clients on a different driver safety issue. 

This month’s topic offers tips and insights into dealing with wintry conditions that could delay your trip or even leave you stranded due to other motorist’s abandoned cars blocking the highway.

Here’s an excerpt:

Throughout much of North America (especially at higher elevations), driving conditions during the winter often include snow, sleet, and ice.  By themselves, these conditions make driving difficult because of reduced visibility, but they also translate to slower traffic, hazardous road conditions (vehicle control), and short tempers from frustrated drivers.

Even if you are in a warmer climate, your drive may be made more difficult by:

  • Greater rainfall than during other times of the year,
  • shorter daylight hours,
  • more glare during dawn and dusk,
  • Slippery roads (fallen leaves, road oils, etc.), poor visibility and wind gusts.

An easy way to look at surviving winter weather is to break it down to key steps:

  1. Prepare your vehicle for the expected weather conditions
  2. Plan your trips
  3. Modify your driving as needed based on conditions
  4. Be ready for emergencies (including the potential to become stranded)

(…Continues…)

If you’re interested in learning more about our Ten-Minute Training Topic program contact us.  The program comes with a driver handout, a manager’s supplemental report addressing policies and offering additional insights such as current news articles dealing with the issue and power point presentations in differing formats to accomodate varied delivery methods.

Traffic Safety Is Everyone’s Responsibility – make “Safety Is MY Goal” part of your mindset when driving!