Winter Driving Tips

January 21st, 2016 by

One look outside the Aberdeen Chrysler Center showroom in Aberdeen,South Dakota this time of year and you’ll usually see some type of precipitation. Snow, rain, ice, and sometimes, all three at once. With inclement weather comes tough driving conditions. Whether you’re a lifelong Midwesterner or a rookie experiencing your first South Dakota winter, take a minute to read over these winter driving tips to help you safely maneuver around this winter.

Make Sure Your Vehicle is Winter Ready
Before ever stepping into your vehicle, you need to be sure your car, truck, van or SUV is winter ready. That includes everything from fluid levels to tire pressure and everything in between. Before you head out, be sure to check the following:

If you’re due, get it done. Winter temperatures magnify existing problems. Don’t be the one who gets stranded because you procrastinated.

Check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.

Make sure the antifreeze you have will adequately protect your car. In our region, you’ll want a 50-50 mix of coolant to distilled water. Don’t overdue it and go 100% coolant and think you’re being safer. You’re wrong. The 50-50 provides max protection down to -34 degrees.

Wipers and Fluids
The last thing you want is to be trailing a semi that’s throwing slush at your car and you run out of wiper fluid or have old wipers that don’t work properly. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.

Tires, Tires, Tires
In our last post, we talked about proper tread depth. Along with that, you must also be aware of your tire pressure.

Fill It Up
Try and keep your vehicle at least half full of gas. If you get into an accident, your vehicle may be your only source of heat. You may get away with not properly maintaining your vehicle during the summer months, but remember, Mother Nature is very unforgiving, especially when temperatures reach below 0.

Do Everything a Little Slower
Today’s society preaches GO, GO, GO…but when it comes to winter driving, take your time and do everything a little slower. Start by taking an extra minute or two to do a better job cleaning off your car. For obvious reasons, you want maximum visibility. It will take you longer to slow down and come to a complete stop. In a potentially-dangerous situation, every second of reaction time could be crucial, so the more you see, the better.

When driving during the winter months, whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or a business trip across the state, provide yourself extra time. Traffic will be moving at a slower pace, so make sure you’re not rushed.

It’s important to remember that when there is snow on the roads, your tires are barely grabbing the road. When you accelerate, do so slowly. When you brake, do so slowly. You must have anticipate turns and stop.

So what? That means you must slow down and leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. It’s recommended that you extend the traditional space from 3-4 seconds to 8-10 seconds.

It’s Not Too Late…
Even though we’re well into the winter, it’s not too late to service your vehicle and better prepare yourself for the challenging road conditions. If you have any questions about your vehicle or would like to schedule an appointment, call our award-winning Service Department today! (605-225-1656) They will inspect your vehicle top to bottom, inside and out, and make sure you’re ready for any road condition.


Posted in Tips