Five tips to make your hol­i­day driver safer this year

The Calvert Recorder - Southern Maryland Automotive Trends - - News -

In the pop­u­lar Christ­mas carol, the best way to reach grand­mother’s house is to travel by sleigh over the river and through the woods. How­ever, these days, most peo­ple find their per­sonal ve­hi­cles a far more re­li­able op­tion.

The hol­i­days are the busiest travel time of the year, and ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of Trans­porta­tion Sta­tis­tics, 91 per­cent of all long-dis­tance trav­el­ers will rely on their per­sonal ve­hi­cle to get them to grand­mother’s house, or wher­ever they may be headed.

Un­for­tu­nately, the win­ter sea­son is also the most dan­ger­ous time of year for road con­di­tions. Keep that in mind be­fore you head over the river or through the woods this sea­son, and make sure to ap­ply these five win­ter driv­ing tips from Miche­lin .• Brake, don’t panic. In slip­pery road con­di­tions, your wheels may lock and slide when you ap­ply the brake. If this hap­pens to you, don’t panic. Re­lease your foot from the brake to slow the skid’s mo­men­tum and re­cover trac­tion, then slowly ap­ply the brake again. • Out­fit your ve­hi­cle with the right tires. If you fre­quently en­counter snow or ice, and the tem­per­a­ture con­sis­tently ap­proaches freez­ing (32F), you need the ex­tra grip of win­ter tires, even if you have a four-wheel or all-wheel drive ve­hi­cle. Win­ter tires are de­signed to per­form bet­ter in a wide range of win­ter con­di­tions by im­prov­ing your ve­hi­cle’s grip and short­en­ing brak­ing dis­tances. In­clude switch­ing to win­ter tires on your sea­sonal projects list to keep you safer on the road.

• Turn cau­tiously. In slip­pery con­di­tions, turns present the great­est po­ten­tial for an ac­ci­dent, so as you ap­proach a turn, be sure to slow your speed and main­tain that speed through­out the turn. Do not ac­cel­er­ate; a sud­den change in speed could cause you to lose con­trol. You should also avoid brak­ing dur­ing a turn to re­duce your skid risk. Brake in the straight­away be­fore the turn and move through the turn at a slower, con­trolled speed.

• Love the lane you’re in. Chang­ing lanes can in­crease your chances of a spin out. If the roads are icy or cov­ered in slush, these con­di­tions are apt to be worse on the shoul--

ders and in less trav­eled lanes, so avoid them if you can. Find the lane that works best for you and stay there as long as pos­si­ble.

• Get de­fen­sive.You’ve long heard about the im­por­tance of de­fen­sive driv­ing and this prac­tice is in­valu­able dur­ing the win­ter months. Just as you are strug­gling with the road con­di­tions, so are the driv­ers around you — par­tic­u­larly if they were not driv­ing re­spec­tive to the weather in the first place. So slow down, al­low that car in front of you some ex­tra room and don’t cut off any other mo­torists. The more you pre­pare for your own safety, the eas­ier it will be for oth­ers to do the same.

CEL­E­BRAT­ING THE DRIVE HOME

The drive home is an iconic hol­i­day tra­di­tion for many Amer­i­cans and to cel­e­brate it this year, Miche­lin will once again sponsor the Amer­ica’s Car Mu­seum (ACM) and North Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional Auto Show’s Drive Home.

This year’s event, called the Her­itage Run, starts on Dec. 27 in Bos­ton and ends on Jan. 7 in Detroit. The 12-day, 10-state, 2,150-mile jaunt will be trav­eled by three iconic Amer­i­can cars from the ACM, the 1957 Chevro­let No­mad, the 1961 Chrysler 300G and the 1966 Ford Mus­tang all fit­ted with mod­ern win­ter tires for added safety. Learn more about the Drive Home and how to fol­low it your­self by go­ing to Amer­i­c­as­car­mu­seum.org.

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