AKRON, Ohio — One of the best ways to avoid slipping and sliding in a vehicle during winter is to improve the contact points between the vehicle and the road surface.
In severe winter areas, motorists may opt for a seasonal changeover that employs true winter tires to combat the expected ice and snow. For most, however, the choice may come down to a year-round tire that features an aggressive enough tread to handle the occasional sloppy winter days.
“The bottom line for consumers is knowing what level of winter they might face,” said Bob Toth, marketing manager with Goodyear. “Based on past experiences, do they feel their winter weather is moderate enough to choose a year-round tire? If they want the convenience of no seasonal tire changeovers, should they select a product that offers them the kind of performance and grip they need in any kind of weather?”
Whatever tire is chosen, Toth offers advice for motorists who will be faced with potential slippery driving conditions this winter:
– Match your driving speed to the current conditions. A slower driving speed allows more time for a necessary response.
– Plan ahead and try to anticipate potentially dangerous situations.
– When approaching a curve or potentially slick area of the road, use the brakes effectively. The brakes should be applied only before a curve and on a straight section of the road. Sometimes, taking your foot off the accelerator and allowing the vehicle to naturally slow without using the brakes is best.
– Maintain enough distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. If someone else seems to be following too close to your vehicle, perhaps slow down to allow them to pass — rather than speeding up to achieve a distance between vehicles.
– Avoid overconfident driving, and avoid overestimating the vehicle’s capability simply because it is well-equipped. Do not allow good judgment and smart driving to be overtaken by a false sense of security provided by vehicle technology.
– Before driving in inclement weather, be sure that your vehicle is properly maintained. Make sure your windshield wipers work properly; have the correct level of antifreeze for heating and defrosting the vehicle; keep plenty of gas in the tank; and always use required safety devices such as seatbelts.
“Preparation — of the vehicle and the driver — is the key for winter driving,” added Toth. “When it comes to driving on the changing road conditions, ranging from dry, wet, icy and snowy, one of the most important factors to consider is the tires. For some, this means purpose-built winter tires. For most, any-weather tires with plenty of new tread will do the job.”
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