Safe Driving On Ski Trips Part 1 The Basics

Safe Driving On Ski Trips Part 1 The Basics

Whether you’re leaving the city heading to​ the Mammoth Mountain/Lake Tahoe High Sierra country for​ its beauty and​ relaxation, or​ planning that ski trip from Scottsdale to​ Snowbowl, here are some tips for​ a​ safe and​ pleasant journey. Be sure to​ see also Part 2: “Don’t get in​ Trouble, but if​ you​ do -–.“

Driving in​ winter conditions tests your​ car to​ the limit. if​ something isn't working properly under the best conditions it​ certainly isn't going to​ work when it's cold and​ stormy.

Check weather and​ travel conditions before heading out. Don't take chances if​ the weather is​ bad. Don’t drive when there are whiteouts, freezing rain​ or​ blizzards. Leave early to​ allow extra time to​ get to​ your​ destination. Buckle up; always use your​ belt. this​ means all passengers and​ children, too.

Whenever starting your​ car, make sure that there is​ nothing obstructing the tailpipe, and​ never warm up your​ car in​ a​ closed garage.

if​ you​ feel tired, pull off the road and​ rest!

Check engine oil, especially before long trips. Use winter weight (5W-30) or​ all-season​ oil.

Check tire pressure, tire condition, and​ spare tire pressure regularly. Tires lose on​ the average 1 pound per month through normal leakage.

Inspect the belts and​ hoses to​ be sure they are free from frays, cracks, leaks or​ rotted rubber. Make sure that radiator hose clamps are tight in​ order to​ prevent leaks at​ the connections.

Be sure all lights are in​ good working order, and​ that your​ brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, heater and​ exhaust system are in​ top condition.

Have a​ mechanic check the battery and​ charging system. Keep battery terminals clean, tight, free of​ corrosion, and​ dry. if​ you​ find that you​ need a​ new battery, get the biggest that will fit in​ your​ car.

Keep the windshield and​ windows clear. Change to​ winter wiper blades, which are made for​ driving in​ snow. Check windshield washer fluid level. It’s a​ good idea to​ keep some extra fluid in​ the trunk in​ case you​ run out. Make sure you​ get fluid appropriate for​ the lowest temperature you​ will experience.

Check coolant level and​ mixture. Make certain​ the antifreeze will protect your​ car to​ the lowest winter temperature you'll be exposed to​ where you​ will be driving.

Keep the gas tank as​ full as​ possible. it​ may be necessary to​ change routes or​ turn back during a​ bad storm, or​ you​ may be caught in​ a​ traffic delay. if​ you​ get stranded, the engine will be your​ only source of​ heat. (Make sure you​ keep a​ window open a​ crack if​ you're sitting there with the engine running.)

Always keep an​ updated map of​ your​ route, an​ extra car key in​ your​ pocket, and​ a​ cell phone and​ small change or​ a​ calling card for​ a​ payphone.

It’s a​ good idea to​ keep a​ winter survival kit in​ your​ vehicle: blanket, hats, boots, gloves, change of​ clothing, small broom, ice scraper, small snow shovel, towel, flashlight, batteries, kitty litter or​ burlap for​ traction, jumper cables, a​ tool kit, tire chains, a​ properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and​ tripod-type jack. Additional items for​ the trunk include a​ Help sign to​ put in​ your​ window, brightly-colored cloth, a​ compass, first aid kit, wooden matches in​ a​ waterproof​ container, scissors, string, and​ canned food along with a​ can opener.

Always carry chains. Sandbags in​ the trunk over the rear axle will provide better traction​ in​ rear wheel vehicles. Use winter tires. They improve driving safety by providing better traction​ and​ handling through snow, slush, and​ on​ ice, but never mix tires of​ different tread, size and​ construction. Because of​ winter's lower temperatures, the air pressure in​ tires will drop. Check tires after driving a​ short distance to​ warm them up for​ an​ accurate reading. Adding air to​ cold tires can result in​ over-inflated tires when they warm up.

It can take ten times longer to​ stop in​ icy conditions than on​ a​ dry road. Don't get overconfident with four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive helps you​ get going quicker but it​ won't help you​ stop any faster. Drive slowly, allowing extra room to​ slow down and​ stop. Use the highest gear possible to​ avoid wheel spin. Maneuver gently, avoiding harsh braking and​ acceleration.

if​ your​ car is​ equipped with anti-lock brakes, do not pump them. to​ avoid skids, brake carefully and​ gently on​ snow or​ ice. "Squeeze" your​ brakes in​ slow, steady strokes. Allow the wheels to​ keep rolling. if​ they start to​ lock up, ease off the brake pedal. as​ you​ slow down, you​ may also want to​ shift gently into a​ lower gear.

Be careful when approaching shaded areas, bridges, and​ overpasses, as​ these sections of​ road freeze much sooner in​ cold weather and​ stay frozen long after the sun has risen. Don't use your​ cruise control or​ overdrive when it's freezing (or colder). Even roads that appear clear can have isolated slippery spots and​ the quick touch of​ your​ brakes to​ deactivate cruise control can cause you​ to​ lose control of​ your​ vehicle. With overdrive, as​ you​ encounter a​ hill your​ vehicle automatically accelerates or​ downshifts, which can cause loss of​ traction.

So, whether you’re to​ stay at​ Aspen, Scottsdale or​ Vail, there’s much more involved than just finding discounted hotel accommodations; be sure to​ plan a​ safe and​ pleasant trip!

(See also Part 2: “Don’t get in​ Trouble, but if​ you​ do -–.“)

Safe Driving On Ski Trips Part 1 The Basics

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