Four Tips and Tricks to Tackle Winter Roads
A Stampede Toyota blog by: Alec Lautermilch
As a beautiful summer comes to a close, we Calgarians brace for what’s to come. Winter driving is a different beast than summer, in this blog we will discuss some tips and tricks you can implement to make your winter commute as smooth as can be.
Tip #1 Winter Tires
Below seven degrees, the rubber compound of your summer or all-season tires is no longer able to grip the road as effectively, increasing your risk of an accident. Winter tires use a softer rubber compound engineered specifically to perform best in winter conditions. This softer material paired with an aggressive tread pattern helps to grip ice, snow, and cold roads. Siping (small grooves in the tread) is designed to trap snow, because as anyone who has made a snowball knows, nothing sticks to snow quite like snow. This winter, set your vehicle up for success with winter tires. Stampede Toyota offers a variety of tire options and has professional technicians to install them correctly. Winter tires have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of a collision and are also sure to reduce your risk of being stuck in the snow or ice.
Tip #2 Good Repair
Ensure your car has all of its maintenance up to date, a breakdown is headache enough even before you factor in negative temperatures and deep snow. Keeping your car in good repair and having all maintenance looked after can offer peace-of-mind and greatly reduce the possibility of an untimely breakdown. It is always better for a technician to find a problem than for your car to present it on the roadside. The Stampede Toyota service department has a team of trained technicians to carry out all of your service needs and give your car the professional touch it deserves. We service all makes and models and can get your car cleaned up nicely too. Do your part this winter by topping off your washer fluid with a winter rated product. Hint, while you are in for service, you can also have your winter tires installed!
Tip #3 Be Prepared
We all hope for the best and take action to best equip ourselves to tackle winter roads, however, no matter what we do, something could still happen. To prepare for these situations, there are several items you can keep in your car to help. The first assortment of items that are advisable to keep in your car are personal comfort/ survival items. Some good ideas include a winter jacket, gloves, a toque, boots, and an extra pair of warm socks. A survival candle and reusable lighter can keep the cabin warm for hours while a powerful flashlight can help you to see and help others see you too. Cell Phone batteries discharge quickly in the cold and the battery should be saved for emergency calls. These items can save your life and are sure to keep you more comfortable. Another assortment of items to keep are things for your car, some of these items worth keeping include a folding shovel, your car’s included jack and tire iron (check condition), along with extra washer fluid. All of these items can help get you back on the road when waiting hours for a tow is not an option. A first aid kit stocked with basic supplies is an important part of any car no matter the season. Stampede Toyota carries a variety of Toyota genuine safety accessories. By well-equipping your car, you can protect yourself and your passengers in case of emergency. Hint, your floor mats and gentle throttle control can be a great way to free a stuck vehicle.
Tip #4 Drive to the Conditions
In the winter, a leading cause of accidents are the low traction conditions caused by snow and ice. We discussed above the great advantage winter tires can give you, there are also things that you as a driver can do to best approach the conditions. Start slow, I cannot count the number of drivers I see each year spinning their tires at ridiculous speeds all in an attempt to gain traction. This is actually the worst thing you can do, by accelerating fast, the limited friction you have between your tires and the driving surface will be lost. The heat from this process also is notorious for creating ice, quite literally digging you into a deeper hole. Leave space, your new Toyota might have excellent brakes, however your car being able to stop quickly on the pavement does not translate into wintertime stopping distances. Leaving more space between you and the vehicle in front of you allows for more time to stop and enables other action to be taken if you cannot. Find traction, though it may seem that the path most traveled is the obvious choice when choosing your path, however this is not always the case. On snowy winter days, packed snow and ice is often the surface that provides the least traction and by adjusting your course slightly to the soft snow to the sides, you can often have much better success. If you have snow mode, use it and if you have a 4×4 vehicle, engage the system! No two days are the same in the winter and your commute must be taken one day at a time. By being a proactive driver, you can avoid complications and enjoy a more comfortable drive.
In closing, driving in the winter is an undertaking for even the most experienced drivers but by following a few simple tips and using caution, we can make it a little bit better for everyone. This winter, keep in mind these simple tricks to better your commute and come to Stampede Toyota anytime you might need service or have a question to ask. Happy motoring Stampede family, stay safe out there.