19
Dec

New Jersey Car Insurance Tips: Winter Weather Driving

Here are a couple tips from your local New Jersey car insurance agency about winter weather driving! Driving
in the winter means snow, sleet and ice that can lead to slower
traffic, hazardous road conditions, hot tempers and unforeseen dangers.
To help you make it safely through winter, here are some suggestions
from the National Safety Council to make sure that you and your vehicle
are prepared.

Weather
At any temperature — 20° Fahrenheit below zero or 90° Fahrenheit above
– weather affects road and driving conditions and can pose serious
problems. It is important to monitor forecasts on the Web, radio, TV,
cable weather channel, or in the daily papers.

Your Car
Prepare your car for winter. Start with a checkup that includes:

  • Checking the ignition, brakes, wiring, hoses and fan belts.
  • Changing and adjusting the spark plugs.
  • Checking the air, fuel and emission filters, and the PCV valve.
  • Inspecting the distributor.
  • Checking the battery.
  • Checking the tires for air, sidewall wear and tread depth.
  • Checking antifreeze levels and the freeze line.

Your
car should have a tune-up (check the owner’s manual for the recommended
interval) to ensure better gas mileage, quicker starts and faster
response on pick-up and passing power.

Necessary Equipment
An emergency situation on the road can arise at any time and you must
be prepared. In addition to making sure you have the tune-up, a full
tank of gas, and fresh anti-freeze, you should carry the following items
in your trunk:

  • Properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack
  • Shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow and tire chains
  • Bag of salt or cat litter
  • Tool kit

Essential Supplies
Be prepared with a “survival kit” that should always remain in the car. Replenish after use. Essential supplies include:

  • Working flashlight and extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Exterior windshield cleaner
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container
  • Scissors and string/cord
  • Non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy.

In
addition, if you are driving long distances under cold, snowy, and icy
conditions, you should also carry supplies to keep you warm such as
heavy woolen mittens, socks, a cap and blankets.

If You Become Stranded…

  • Do
    not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is
    to possible help, and are certain you will improve your situation.
  • To
    attract attention, light two flares and place one at each end of the
    car a safe distance away. Hang a brightly colored cloth from your
    antenna.
  • If you are sure the car’s
    exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for about 10
    minutes every hour or so depending upon the amount of gas in the tank.
  • To protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia use the woolen items and blankets to keep warm.
  • Keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow and ice can seal a car shut.
  • Eat a hard candy to keep your mouth moist.

Severe
weather can be both frightening and dangerous for automobile travel.
Motorists should know the safety rules for dealing with winter road
emergencies.

Winter driving tips:

  • Avoid
    driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before
    taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
  • Always look and steer where you want to go.
  • Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.

Tips for driving in the snow:

  • Accelerate
    and decelerate slowly. 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.
  • Drive
    slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating,
    stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give
    yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • 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.
  • Know
    your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to
    stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and
    use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake
    pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid
    it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start
    moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while
    still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a
    traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t
    power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts
    your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach
    the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the
    crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as
    possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a
    hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an
    icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on
    the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really
    don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow,
    not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you
    have to be, watch the snow from indoors. 

    Stay safe this winter!! Call us if you need us – your local New Jersey car insurance agency!