Winter is coming, and war is on the horizon. But the battle we’re talking about today is your car vs. snowy roads.
Winter is one of the most dangerous seasons for driving. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration says that 22% of all accidents per year are weather related, which includes snow, freezing rain, and black ice. But despite the risks of winter driving, you can keep yourself out of harm’s way with a little knowhow and a lot of care. Here are 6 tips to get you started.
1. Snow tires
If you live in an area with a lot of snowfall, snow tires can dramatically impact the way your vehicle handles the elements. While cars with snow tires aren’t accident proof, the added grip the tires provide can be the difference between a small slip and a major accident.
If you don’t get snow tires for any reason, at least make sure your tires are inflated. The change in temperature can cause them to deflate.
2. Always keep winter essentials on hand
Snow storms can be ferocious, and your car can get covered in ice and fresh powder in an hour’s time. You’ll want to have an ice scraper and a snow brush available at arms reach.
If you’d like to prepare yourself further, consider bringing a warm blanket and fresh water with you to keep you warm and hydrated in the event of an accident.
3. Check the weather for every stage of your journey
Knowing is half the battle, and driving is no different. When planning long road trips, check the weather forecast for the major locations along your route to know what you’re getting yourself into.
If possible, time your journey to avoid the worst weather on your route.
4. Keep plenty of distance between the car in front of you
Even if you’re a cautious driver, you never know what the vehicle in front of you is going to do. To keep you and your fellow drivers safe, create an especially large gap between you and those in front of you. A good rule of thumb is one car length for every ten miles per hour, and even more in inclement weather. That way, no matter who loses control of their car, everyone else will be able to react and respond accordingly.
5. Always be mindful of black ice
If the weather is cold, there’s a chance that any wet surface can turn to ice. Even if the temperature outside is above freezing (32 degrees fahrenheit), ice can still form on pavement. Since you can’t really predict when a patch of road might get icy, take extra precautious around sharp turns and make sure your brakes can stop your car without skidding.
6. Go slow
Driving isn’t a race. Your only job is to get from point A to point B while respecting the rules of the road to the best of your ability. When the weather is bad, go slow and keep safe under any circumstances. No matter how the cars behind you may be driving, just remember that slow and steady wins the race.
Though it’s always a bummer to add extra time to your commute or road trip, a safe arrival is more than worth the cost. Even if you don’t realize it, you are precious cargo to your friends and family members. Keeping yourself safe is the best Christmas present anyone could ask for.
When we think of gifts, we think of clothes, vacations, gift certificates, or other relatively small purchases. Based on the gifts most people receive, a car usually doesn’t come to mind.
But there are some people out there who have the means, willingness, and generosity to buy a vehicle as a gift for someone else. These people take gift giving to a whole other level, and make the rest of us look bad in comparison. If you’re one of these people, and are considering giving someone a new or used car as a present, here are some tips to help you pull it off:
1. Pick the right vehicle
This is absolutely critical if you’re going to be giving someone the ultimate gift. Sure, you’re probably not going to give someone their dream Ferrari, but make sure it’s a car or truck that you’re sure they would want. Don’t forget to find the right color, style, and features if those are things the gift recipient cares about. It might be tricky to find all of this information out without making them suspicious, but you need to be sure that you’re picking the right model.
2. Figure out who will be paying
You’ll have to figure out the payment strategy on the vehicle ahead of time. Ideally, you’ll buy the vehicle in cash or make all of the payments on it yourself. But you can also make the downpayment on the car and have the gift recipient make the payments. However, keep in mind that you can’t add someone to a loan without their presence and signature. So if you’re planning to have your loved one make the payments but you want to keep the gift as a surprise, let the dealership know and they can help you plan out the process.
3. Plan ahead
If you’re giving a car as a gift, do not wait until the last minute to try to set everything up. You’ll need to find the right vehicle, line up the payment or financing, and handle all of the paperwork all while keeping it a secret. So trying to get it done the day before a birthday or holiday might be cutting it close.
4. Think about registration and titling
This is another big consideration when buying a car as a gift. Whose name will the vehicle be registered in? Who will hold the title? The law will vary depending on which state you live in, so contact your motor vehicle department to figure out the best way to go, or work with the dealership to figure out the best way to go. Again, a dealer could help you set everything up to make it a surprise, and then have your loved one fill out the right paperwork after.
5. Let the dealership know it’s a secret
If this vehicle is a gift that you don’t want your loved one to know about, then make sure to be very clear with the dealership about the fact. And be careful about whose phone number you put on the paperwork, especially if you have a home phone. It’s unlikely that anyone will intentionally ruin your surprise, but mistakes do happen so make your discretion a priority.
6. Don’t forget the bow
How can you give someone a car as a gift without a giant bow attached to it? It’s part of the fun! Don’t assume that a dealership will have a bow available, since they may be out of stock or not used to having vehicles bought as gifts. You can order a bow online for under $75 bucks. It’ll be worth it to make the experience for your loved one an unforgettable one.