Five Handy Car Safety Features for Winter Driving

Five Handy Car Safety Features for Winter Driving

Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Don’t let winter run you off the road.

Winter is here, and that means getting your car ready to deal with the worst winter can dish out. Whether you’ll be going through a foot of snow, or gingerly rolling over ice, here’s the safety features you need to stay safe on the road

Snow Tires

Snow tires, also called winter tires, are specially designed for driving in snowy conditions. Generally the most common are tires that having better “siping,” that is, thin slits cut into the rubber that offer more traction on slippery surfaces. There are also tires with metal studs that are good for digging into ice, but they can damage pavement and are increasingly rare. There’s also snow chains, which are designed to be used at low speeds and offer more traction, and are worth keeping in your trunk for emergencies.

Anti-Lock Brakes

Anti-lock brakes are all but standard, these days, because they’re a good idea. In old-fashioned brakes, when you hit the pedal, the wheels just stopped spinning. That’s not good when you’re on slippery roads, because you still have your momentum, but suddenly no control. This makes skidding much harder to avoid. Anti-lock systems slow your car, but also let the wheels spin, allowing you more control, and a safer way to get to a stop when the road conditions become too much.

Traction Control

Traction control is a computerized system that essentially measures how much grip you have on the road at any given time and takes a number of steps to increase it as necessary. Traction systems might apply braking to individual wheels, reducing the flow of fuel to cylinders, lowering the boost on the turbocharger, or controlling the spark system. It gives you a lot more control over your car, and helps keep you on the road no matter how slick the roads get.

Get on the road safely this winter.

Forward Collision Detection

Slippery roads can make it harder to judge distances and make being aware of what’s in front of you much more important. Forward collision detection offers a fairly easy way for winter drivers to avoid this hazard. It uses sensors such as laser range-finders to determine proper following distance, and if you’re suddenly closing it too fast, will alert you. Some systems will even automatically hit the brakes. Forward collision detection gives you a much safer drive every day of the year, to boot.

Electronic Stability Control

One of the more subtle, but important, changes to modern cars has been the electronic stability control, or ESC, which is sometimes incorporated into traction control. ESC systems monitor each wheel of your car and look for signs you’re about to skid. If it detects skidding, it selectively applies the brakes to ensure you stay on the road and stay stable. It’s relatively new to cars, but it’s already saving lives, and especially if you’re looking for a new car this winter, it’s decidedly a must-have.

Remember, it’s best that you have these systems working in concert. The more safety systems at work in the winter, the better, and it benefits you every day of the year. If you’re looking for an upgrade to your car,
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