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The holiday season is finally here, and there is so much driving to be done. Whether you’re picking up gifts at your local store or driving long distances to visit family and friends, being on the road in winter can be incredibly dangerous. You’re not only up against the elements, but other stressed out drivers too. A lot of auto accidents take place over the holiday period and nobody wants to endure the discomfort and stress of an injury during the festive season. Stay safe on the roads this year by following these simple winter driving safety dos and don’ts.

DOs

  • Keep up to date with seasonal maintenance. Get your car checked out at your local auto-center and fix any problems that might inhibit driving ability. Make sure your windscreen wipers, tires and battery are all in proper working order.
  • Drive slowly in snowy conditions. Everything from accelerating to stopping takes a little longer in the snow. Be patient and give yourself time to maneuver your vehicle by driving slowly and carefully.
  • Keep an eye on weather reports when driving long distances. Delay your trip if conditions are especially bad, but if you must travel, make sure to let other people know your whereabouts and estimated time of arrival so they’ll be aware if anything is amiss.
  • Be prepared. Make sure your cellphone has a full battery and extra charging cables, and if you are traveling long distances in winter conditions, pack an emergency kit of blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle.
  • ALWAYS wear your seatbelt. This goes without saying.

Don’ts

  • Don’t forget to keep your tank half full at all times. This will help you avoid the gas line freeze up.
  • When driving in snow, don’t come to a full 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 rely on your parking brake. If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Don’t use cruise control, especially when driving on icy, wet surfaces.
  • Don’t leave the house unless you absolutely have to. If conditions are bad and you don’t have anywhere to be, stay home. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate. Take it easy and watch the snow from indoors.

This winter if you experience any issues with your transmission, engine, or require any other vehicle repairs, do not hesitate to visit one of our Portland, Oregon area locations. Our shops are located mostly in the neighborhoods of East Portland but we are easily accessible from Clackamas, Troutdale, Gresham, and Milwaukie as well as North and West Portland.

By Matt Stewart