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Winter Driving Tips

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Happy Friday Elio’ers! As January is coming to a close, many of us are beginning to pine for warmer weather. After the east coast was hammered by a severe snow storm, it looks like a big storm is set to hit the upper Midwest. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “Over 70 percent of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions, which receive more than five inches (or 13 cm) average snowfall annually. Nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in these snowy regions.” If you’re in that 70% of Americans that have to deal with winter snow storms, this blog is for you, as we are going to provide some helpful tips on how to drive safely in these conditions.

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Here’s a list of some of the most helpful tips when encountering icy roads:

  1. When you get into your vehicle, always make sure to buckle up and that everyone in the car follows suit before turning the key. Of course, you want to do this in perfect weather too, but the stakes are higher when encountering rough roads.
  2. You want to make sure that your tires are properly inflated and that you have at least a half tank of gas so the gas line doesn’t freeze.
  3. Make sure to not make sudden starts and stops. AAA advises “Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.”
  4. As a general rule, you’ll want to drive slower than you would under normal conditions and allow for more time to stop. “The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.”
  5. If it’s snowing, avoid using cruise control.
  6. When driving in the snow, it’s important to know if your vehicle is front wheel or rear wheel drive. Generally, a front wheeled vehicle like the Elio is preferable in the snow because most of the weight is placed over the drive wheels. Edmunds has this advice when it comes to encountering a front wheel skid, “Smoothly release the accelerator, leave your hands where they are and allow the car to slow down. Turning the steering wheel more or pushing the brake pedal is like using a cancelled credit card: It does nothing good and may do something bad if the traction suddenly returns.”
  7. S. News and World Reports had this to say regarding rear wheeled drive vehicles in the snow, “Rear-wheel drive vehicles are tougher to control when they do lose traction. When front-wheel drive vehicles experience wheel spin, they tend to understeer – you turn the wheel, but the car keeps going forward. If a rear-wheel drive car loses traction, there’s more of a propensity to oversteer (where the back end slides out to the side) or fishtail (when it sways from side to side.)” Consensus? Take the front wheel drive vehicle over the rear any day in the event of a snowstorm.
  8. What about all-wheel drive? According to Consumer Reports, “All-wheel drive is far better than two-wheel drive when it comes to driving on slick surfaces where you need serious traction to get going, such as a snowy uphill driveway. But our tests found that all-wheel drive by itself won’t help if you’re heading too fast toward a sudden sharp curve on a snowy night.”

Thanks for your support and have a spectacular weekend!

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