Tips for Driving in the Snow

driving in the snowPerhaps the best advice one can give for driving in the snow and ice is: don’t. But alas, life won’t always stop for bad weather. Here are some tips to follow for safety on the snow-covered road.

Practice Good Maintenance

Before snow even falls, you should follow some winter maintenance guidelines to make sure your car is as prepared as possible. The most important factor for snow driving is tire conditions. If your tires have good tread and the right pressure, you’ll be much better off on snow and ice.

Give Yourself Space and Time

In good driving conditions, you should have a few cars length between you and the person in front of you. In snow, multiply that by three. Everything has a slower reaction in the snow, so if the person in front of you brakes suddenly, you’d better have space to react.

Also, leave early so that you will have plenty of time to take it nice and easy. Drive slowly, accelerate slowly, and brake slowly. Try letting the car come to a gradual, rolling stop rather than braking last minute. Any sudden movement could cause you to lose traction.

Don’t Get Over-Confident

Some people think that because their vehicle has four-wheel drive or an anti-lock braking system they’re invincible in the snow. Don’t be one of those people. Everyone needs to take precautions in winter weather.

Should You Buy Winter Tires?

Winter TiresAll-season tires are perfect for driving during every season thanks to their combination of summer and winter benefits. Winter tires are an alternative that provides drivers with more control during heavy snowfalls and icy roadways. They may cost quite a bit but they’re entirely worth it in the long run. Should you buy winter tires? Here at Steve Lewis Subaru, we know the answer is a resounding yes.

Massachusetts generally sees heavy snowfall and icy roadways throughout winter, which makes winter tires a must-have perk for season. While all-season tires are great for those who live in moderate climates, winter tires take the cake when it comes to the frozen roadways that plague Massachusetts every year.

Winter tires are specifically designed to function well on icy roads and under heavy stress. The tread rubber remains flexible during the freezing cold and provides optimal traction. All-season tires tend to stiffen and, as a result, the tire can’t grip the road as well.

The tread on winter tires runs deeper and the patterns themselves help channel the snow, slush, and water to minimize slippage. More biting edges, slits in the tread, help increase traction on ice so drivers can stay in control of their vehicle.

Back to School Driving Tips

Back to school driving tipsWhen summer starts to turn to fall, the kids go back to school. You want to make sure you’re safe on the road when school’s back in session. Here are some back to school driving tips.

School Buses. Remember, it’s the law to stop for school buses, but don’t just stop when they put out their big STOP sign. Yield to them when they’re trying to merge and increase your following distance.

School Zones. Speed limits in school zones are typically between 15 and 25 miles per hour. Remember that you only have to decrease to this speed when the lights on the school zone signs are flashing. Be careful in general when driving through school zones because kids can be around when the lights aren’t flashing.

Seatbelts. If you’re a parent responsible for carpooling during the year, make sure that you’re practicing safe driving skills and make sure that everyone is buckled up.

Teen Drivers. Keep a special eye out for teen drivers in school areas. Since they’re driving for the first time and are likely excited about it, you’ll have to be especially cautious when driving around them.

How to Prevent Hydroplaning on Slippery Spring Roads

Tire on Slippery Road - Prevent Hydroplaning

When roads get wet, you’ll want to keep these tips to prevent hydroplaning in mind.

One of the greatest dangerous of the spring season is often misunderstood: hydroplaning. This term refers to what happens when your vehicle loses traction with the road, usually due to a thin layer of water or ice.

Typically, the risk for hydroplaning is at its highest shortly after a storm begins, or right after it starts raining. While your tires are usually able to grip onto the road, they lose this ability and you lose control.

The best thing you can do to avoid hydroplaning is to slow down when it is raining. It’s also important to avoid puddles – and especially to avoid large bodies of standing water, which could cause your vehicle to float away entirely.

It’s also important to avoid using cruise control during a storm, as this automatic feature will not adjust depending on the frequency of the rain – like a driver would.

If it begins to rain: turn off your cruise control and slow down to prevent hydroplaning, and don’t forget to increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicles around it.

For more safety tips or to start out your season with a new vehicle, visit us at Steve Lewis Subaru.

White Snow, Black Ice: How to Stay Safe on Black Ice

Black Ice - Steve Lewis Subaru in Hadley, MA

Black ice is one of the many dangers associated with winter driving. This time of year is especially bad when it comes to this hazardous mix of ice, water, and snow, making it important to know how to react in such a situation. We’ve put together a post on how to stay safe on black ice.

According to WikiHow, black ice is similar to regular ice, but earns its eerie name from the difficulty in seeing it. Generally, black ice forms as a glaze over surfaces after light rain, snow, or sleet. It often forms without trapping much, if any, air, making it almost completely transparent.

The best way to stay safe on black ice is to know where it most often occurs. It frequently appears at night or in the early morning when temperatures are low. It forms on shaded parts of the road, as well as lesser-travelled roads. Bridges, overpasses, and other areas that are exposed to cold air also bring about fast-freezing.

While it is transparent, black ice can be detectable if you look right. It appears as a frozen sheet, so look for areas that are especially shiny. Most roads are dull, matte black; however, if you see light reflecting off any surfaces, take extra precaution.

Finally, if you do hit black ice, remain calm. Keep your wheel straight, and DO NOT slam on the brakes. Generally, a safe rule of thumb is to do nothing when you hit a slippery surface. You can lightly press the brakes, especially if you have ABS, and steer in the direction you are sliding if you are in a dangerous situation, as this will slow you faster.

Six Subaru Top Safety Pick+ Awards Recently Given by IIHS

2016 Subaru Forester

The Forester is one of six Subarus named Subaru Top Safety Pick+ for 2016.

Subaru recently earned six 2016 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards, the highest honor given by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Testing everything from front collision to advanced safety system technologies, the IIHS found that Subaru models are among the safest on the road.

According to Subaru, the six models that received recognition were the Legacy, Outback, Forester, Impreza, WRX, and Crosstrek. Only 48 models in the entire world received the award this year, demonstrating Subaru’s dominance when it comes to safety. The IIHS specifically recognized Subaru for the innovative EyeSight Driver Assist technology, an optional active safety system designed to alert drivers to possible dangers.

“We asked auto manufacturers to do more this year to qualify for our safety awards, and they delivered,” says Adrian Lund, IIHS president. “For the first time, a good rating in the challenging small overlap front crash test is a requirement to win, in addition to an available front crash prevention system.”

In order to earn the Subaru Top Safety Pick+ award, models must receive a rating of “Good” in all five areas of evaluation. When equipped with the EyeSight technology, models earned a “Superior” rating every single time.  The Top Safety Pick+ awards are just another thing that sets Subaru models apart from the competition.

The Importance of Winter Driving Safety

Winter Tire

Don’t get caught out in the cold – be ready for winter with these driving tips!

Winter has a lot of advantages going for it. Food, family, presents – even snow and ice can be pretty once you get past the chilly weather. However, driving in that snow and ice is the hard part, and wondering how to stay safe during the winter months can be a source of concern. Here are a few winter driving safety pointers to minimize and avoid hazards as the cold months creep closer.

First of all, preparation is key. Regular maintenance goes a long way in preventing potential problems, but it’s important to get a checkup before the weather gets chilly. Cold air affects the traction of your tires and their air pressure, reduces battery capacity, makes oil thicker, and overall has several adverse effects on the mechanical parts of your car.

Because of these things, you should always have your tires changed out for seasonal tires and always make sure the air pressure is good. Change the battery if it’s old, and have the oil changed. Keep your car stocked with things such as blankets and changes of clothes, in addition to standard car emergency kit supplies such as jumper cables and flashlights.

Visibility is important, too. Make sure your heating system works, because your defroster will be crucial. Keep an ice scraper around, too.

Follow these tips and you’re on your way to good winter driving safety. Taking care of your vehicle, making adequate preparations, and being stocked well in case of emergency are all key to ensuring you minimize possible accidents and hazards this winter.