Winter Driving Safety Tips


Distraction comes in many forms and can take your focus from the task of driving. Exercise good judgment and do not let other activities divert your attention from the road. Many local governments have enacted laws regarding driver distraction. Become familiar with the laws in your area.

To avoid distracted driving, always keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

  • Do not use a cell phone in demanding driving situations. Use a hands-free method to place or receive necessary phone calls (if allowed by local laws).
  • Watch the road. Do not read, take notes, or look up information on cell phones or other electronic devices.
  • Designate a front-seat passenger to handle potential distractions.
  • Become familiar with vehicle features before driving, such as programming favorite radio stations and adjusting climate control and seat settings.
  • Program all trip information into any navigation device prior to driving.
  • Wait until the vehicle is parked to retrieve items that have fallen on the floor.
  • Stop or park the vehicle to tend to children.
  • Keep pets in an appropriate carrier or restraint.
  • Avoid stressful conversations while driving, whether with a passenger or on a cell phone.

Loss of Control
Defensive drivers will avoid most skid situations by taking reasonable care suited to existing conditions, and by not overdriving those conditions. But skids are always possible. If the vehicle starts to slide, follow these suggestions:

  • Ease your foot off the accelerator pedal and steer the way you want the vehicle to go. The vehicle may straighten out. Be ready for a second skid if it occurs.
  • Slow down and adjust your driving according to weather conditions. Stopping distance can be longer and vehicle control can be affected when traction is reduced by water, snow, ice, gravel, or other materials. Learn to recognize warning signs – such as enough water, ice, or packed snow on the road to make a mirrored surface – and when in doubt, slow down.
  • Try to avoid sudden steering, acceleration, or braking, including reducing vehicle speed by shifting to a lower gear. Any sudden changes could cause the tires to slide.


Snow or ice on the road creates less traction or grip between the tires and the road and can make for tricky driving conditions. It is very important to take it slow and drive extra carefully when traveling in snowy or icy weather.

Another big hazard is black ice, which can occur at about 32°F (0°C), when freezing rain begins to fall, and can result in even less traction. Play it safe by avoiding driving on black ice or in freezing rain until roads can be treated with salt or sand.

Practice safe driving, whatever the condition. Accelerate gently to retain as much traction as possible. If you accelerate too quickly, your vehicle’s wheels will spin and may cause the surface under the tires to become slick.

The Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) improves vehicle stability during hard stops on slippery roads, but when driving in snowy or icy conditions, you should apply the brakes sooner than when on dry pavement.

Always allow greater following distance on any slippery road and keep an eye out for slippery spots. Wet or icy patches can occur on otherwise clear roads in shaded areas. The surface of a curve or an overpass can remain icy when the surrounding roads are clear. Avoid sudden steering maneuvers and braking while on ice.

Turn off cruise control on slippery surfaces.



Being stuck in snow can be a serious situation. Stay with the vehicle unless there is help nearby. If possible, use the Roadside Assistance Program. Try to stay calm and focus on getting help and keeping everyone in the vehicle safe.

Here are some points to remember:

  • Turn on the hazard warning flashers
  • Tie a red cloth to an outside mirror


Snow can trap engine exhaust under the vehicle. This may cause exhaust gases to get inside. Engine exhaust contains carbon monoxide (CO), which cannot be seen or smelled and can cause unconsciousness and even death.

If Your Vehicle Gets Stuck in the Snow:

  • Clear away snow from around the base of your vehicle, especially any that is blocking the exhaust pipe.
  • Check again from time to time to be sure snow does not collect there.
  • Open a window about 2” (5 cm) on the side of the vehicle that is away from the wind to bring in fresh air. Fully open the air outlets on or under the instrument panel.
  • Adjust the climate control system to a setting that circulates the air inside the vehicle and set the fan speed to the highest setting.
  • To save fuel, run the engine for only short periods as needed to warm the vehicle, and then shut the engine off and close the window most of the way to save heat. Repeat this
    until help arrives, but only when you feel really uncomfortable from the cold. Moving about the vehicle to keep warm also helps.
  • If it takes some time for help to arrive, when you run the engine occasionally, push the accelerator pedal slightly so the engine runs faster than the idle speed. This keeps the
    battery charged to restart the vehicle and to signal for help with the headlamps. Do this as little as possible to save fuel.

If the Vehicle is Stuck:

Slowly and cautiously spin the wheels to free the vehicle when stuck in sand, mud, ice, or snow. If the vehicle has a traction system, it can often help to free a stuck vehicle. Refer to the vehicle’s traction control system in your vehicle’s Owner’s Manual. If stuck too severely for the traction control system to free the vehicle, turn the traction control system off and use the rocking method.


If the vehicle’s tires spin at high speed, they can explode, and you or others could be injured. The vehicle can also overheat, causing an engine compartment fire or other damage. Spin the wheels as little as possible and avoid going above 35 mph (56 km/h).

Rocking the Vehicle to Get Out

Turn the steering wheel left and right to clear the area around the front wheels. Turn off any traction or stability control system. Shift back and forth between R (Reverse) and a forward gear, spinning the wheels as little as possible. To prevent transmission wear, wait until the wheels stop spinning before shifting gears. Release the accelerator pedal while shifting, and press lightly on the accelerator pedal when the transmission is in gear. Slowly spinning the wheels in the forward and reverse directions causes a rocking motion that could free the vehicle. If that does not get the vehicle out after a few tries, it might need to be towed out.

Summer Driving Tips from the Certified Service Experts


Higher temperatures mean extra work for your vehicle. The Certified Service experts encourage you to follow these simple steps to make sure your vehicle is up to the challenges of summer:

  • Check tire tread depth for excessive and uneven wear.
  • In extreme summer temperatures, you may have to change the grade of your engine oil. Check your Owner’s Manual for the viscosity grade recommended for your vehicle’s engine.
  • Check the cooling system – both hoses and radiator – for leaks. Check the coolant recovery reservoir under the hood when the engine is cold. Add the coolant recommended in your Owner’s Manual, if required. Or replace coolant according to your maintenance schedule in your Owner’s Manual.

Learn what maintenance items are crucial before heading off on a spring or summer road trip with your vehicle.

General Summer Tips

  • Never leave children or pets alone inside a vehicle.
    - On a typical summer day, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach potentially deadly levels within minutes – even with a window open.
    - Heat is much more dangerous to children and pets. When left in a hot vehicle, their core body temperature can rise significantly faster than that of an adult. This could cause
      permanent injury or even death.
  • Check the cooling system. Look for leaks, worn or bulging hoses, and malfunctioning fan operation. The hot days of summer strain the cooling system, and a failure can leave
    you stranded with an overheated engine.
  • Caught in a traffic jam? Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle ahead of you so the radiator can do its job. If the engine overheats, turn off the air conditioner and turn
    on the heater. You may be uncomfortable, but the heater acts like a second radiator and can help cool the engine.


Tips for Driving in the Rain and Hydroplaning Tips


Rain and wet roads can reduce vehicle traction and affect your ability to stop and accelerate. Always drive slower in rainy weather than you would in safe driving conditions, and try to avoid driving through large puddles and deep standing or flowing water.


Wet brakes can cause crashes. They might not work as well in a quick stop and could cause the vehicle to pull to one side, causing you to lose control of the vehicle. After driving through a large puddle of water or a car wash, lightly apply the brake pedal until the brakes work normally.

Flowing or rushing water creates strong forces. Driving through flowing water could cause the vehicle to be carried away. If this happens, you and other vehicle occupants could drown. Do not ignore police warnings and be very cautious about trying to drive through flowing water.


Hydroplaning is dangerous and can seriously impede driving safety. When the vehicle is hydroplaning, it has little or no contact with the road. Water can build up under the vehicle’s tires so they actually ride on the water. This can happen if the road is wet and you are going too fast. There is no hard-and-fast rule for dealing with hydroplaning. The best advice is to slow down when the road is wet.

General Tips for Driving in the Rain

Besides slowing down, other wet-weather driving tips include:

  • Allow extra following distance
  • Pass with caution
  • Keep windshield wipers in good shape
  • Keep the windshield washer fluid reservoir filled
  • Have good tires with proper tread depth
  • Turn off cruise control



Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
Some vehicles come equipped with an ABS. If you’re driving safely on a wet road and need to slam on the brakes to avoid an obstacle, a computer senses that the wheels are slowing down. If one of the wheels is about to stop rolling, the computer will separately work the brakes at each wheel.

ABS can change the brake pressure to each wheel, as required, faster than any driver could. This can help you steer around obstacles while braking hard. As the brakes are applied, the computer keeps receiving updates on wheel speed and controls braking pressure accordingly.

Remember: ABS does not change the time needed to get a foot up to the brake pedal or always decrease stopping distance. If you get too close to the vehicle in front of you, there may not be enough time to apply the brakes. Always leave enough room to stop, even with ABS.

Using ABS
Do not pump the brakes. Just hold the brake pedal down firmly and let ABS work. It’s normal to hear the ABS pump or motor operating and feel the brake pedal pulsate.

Vehicles Without ABS
If you do not have an ABS, your first reaction—to hit the brake pedal and hold it down—may be the wrong thing to do. Your wheels can stop rolling. Once they do, the vehicle cannot respond to your steering. Momentum will carry it in whatever direction it was headed when the wheels stopped rolling. That could be off road, into the situation you were trying to avoid, or into traffic.

Use a “squeeze” braking technique if you do not have an Anti-lock Brake System. This will give you maximum braking while maintaining steering control. You can do this by pushing on the brake pedal with steadily increasing pressure.

In an emergency, you will probably want to squeeze the brakes hard without locking the wheels. If you hear or feel the wheels sliding, ease off the brake pedal.


Hitting the road for the holidays? A little pre-trip planning goes a long way to ensure safe driving. Follow these tips from your Certified Service experts to help ensure a fun and safe holiday trip:

  • Before you head out, head to your Certified Service experts for a Multi-Point Vehicle Inspection to help ensure driving safety.
  • Make sure you trunk has a jack, lug wrench, and other tools you’ll need to change a tire.
  • Check tire pressure on all tires, including the spare.
  • Make sure you have a working flashlight with extra batteries, emergency reflectors, sunglasses, and a first aid kit.
  • Take your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and auto and medical insurance cards.
  • Carry a spare set of vehicle keys.
  • Plan your route and leave a copy of your itinerary with a relative or neighbor.
  • Bring a cell phone and a sign that tells passersby to call police in case of unexpected trouble.
  • Have any repairs or vehicle maintenance performed before the trip. See your vehicle’s Owner’s Manual for vehicle maintenance schedules.

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