What can we do to avoid an accident or hydroplaning in slippery conditions?
That’s a great question and the best thing you can do is ensure your vehicle is properly maintained and ready for driving in inclement weather. Remember that your tires and brakes are your most important safety features, particularly in winter driving conditions. If you have not had your tires and brakes checked, now is the time. Your tires should not be worn and the tire pressure should be checked to help minimize chances of skidding and hydroplaning. It is also important to be sure to rotate your tires regularly and check your alignment.
Good tires in good condition is one of the best ways to avoid hydroplaning. Hydroplaning happens when your tires encounter more water than they can scatter, so they lose contact with the road and skid along the water’s surface. In this situation, you actually lose control of your vehicle. We have some videos to watch on our You Tube channel on making a decision to buy new tires and the “penny test.”
Feel free to see our technicians at Jaffarian’s Service Department. We can inspect your tires and let you know if your vehicle is due for a tire rotation or an alignment. We have state-of-the art equipment, Hawkeye Technology, to give you an objective opinion and review the results with you. We also have an on-line service scheduler for your convenience.
In addition to having your tires and brakes checked, here are additional tips to help you this winter.
Ten Tips to avoid an accident by skidding or hydroplaning:
1. Slow down. Even the first 10 minutes of rain can be the most dangerous as can the early part of a snow storm before the roads are treated. In the case of rain, move to the middle lane if possible to avoid standing water. Avoid abrupt or quick turns and do not use cruise control.
2. Be watchful of other drivers who may be skidding. Keep a safe distance ..
3. Drive in the tracks of the vehicles in front of you. This minimizes the amount of water your tires will encounter and can be helpful before plows are out during snowfall.
4. Be certain your windshield wipers are working and that they have been replaced in the past 6-12 months. Make sure your defroster is in good working order for maximum visibility. Book an appointment to get your vehicle prepared for winter driving conditions if you have not done so.
5. Consider driving in a lower gear to gain more traction.
6. If you have to brake, do so with gentle pumping. Never slam on the brakes. (If you have anti-lock brakes, you should be able to brake normally.)
7. Try to stay calm! I realize this is not easy advice, but avoiding slamming on brakes and abruptly turning the steering wheel will help you get through the skid or hydroplaning.
8. If you skid while driving a standard vehicle, disengage the clutch and downshift. In an automatic vehicle, ease up on the brake.
9. Always steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go or in the direction of a skid.
10. Choose your route carefully during inclement weather. While some may prefer to avoid the highway in snowy or icy conditions, these roads may have better lighting and are well marked while back roads may not be treated as quickly, road markings can be more difficult to see and lighting may be an issue. Be mindful of overpasses as well as they tend to freeze.
After a winter like last year’s record-breaking snowfall, we’re all bracing for another tough winter, while hoping for the best. Please follow these guidelines as all of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion want to see you stay safe this winter.