Some Thoughts for Winter Driving for Parents and their Teens!

by William Hogan on 12/29/18

Well folks we hope all of you are having a terrific holiday season and we want to wish everyone a healthy, prosperous, and happy New Year.  Of course the new year in the Northeast signals a time that most of us as drivers don't look forward to, winter!  And most parents we've ever worked with are absolutely terrified that first winter their teen drivers have to deal with icy and snowy roads.  So we're going to pass along a few ideas for both new and experienced drivers in dealing with winter road conditions.

 1.) Drive Slower
As simplistic as it sounds, when you're driving in ice and snow you just simply have to drive a bit slower!  You have to build in some extra time on any journey which will give you the mindset to be able to be patient and take your time.
2.) Create a Big Space Cushion 
You need to be very mindful of, and create a big space cushion!  Following too closely to the vehicle in front of you is a recipe for problems.  You should probably have three times the space between you and that vehicle ahead of you that you would have on a sunny, dry day in June.
3.) Nothing Harsh
Our best winter mantra is "smooth is good"!  The absolute best thought and action you can carry forward this winter to keep yourself from losing grip or traction while driving is to avoid doing anything harsh while driving.  No harsh braking, no harsh accelerating, and no harsh steering!  Anytime you slam on the brakes, smash the gas pedal or suddenly turn the wheel harshly, you are most likely to lose grip on a icy/snowy road surface.
4.) Don't Drive Where Everyone Else is Driving
One of the other great tips we've shared over the years is to not drive on a snowy road surface where most other drivers are driving.  When vehicle after vehicle goes down a road in the exact same track, it packs down that snow and turns it into a hard patch of ice about as wide as most vehicle tires.  If you then hit the brakes while you're driving along that packed down track, you will surely skid.  So we would pose to as best you can drive a couple feet off that track that everyone else is packing down, and drive in the "fresh snow" where there are little to no tire tracks.  You will find much better traction there!

So try to incorporate these ideas into your winter driving patterns and you'll have a much safer time on the roads this winter.  And for parents, get your teens out in a big, empty parking lot the first couple days we have snow on the roads and let them experience the feel of driving in bad conditions and the feel of what it's like to lose control or grip/traction.  Be patient with them in this process and take advantage of the early opportunities for them to experience this in a safe environment before they're out on the road alone. We do a number of "last minute" lessons with teens in the winter to work with them on these concepts.  Feel free to reach out to us for any help on any of this!  And let's all hope for an early spring..

4 Tips for Driving on Wet Roads

by William Hogan on 10/12/18

Who knew it only takes 1/12th an inch of rain at 35 mph to hydroplane? Streets and roads are more dangerous when we get rain after it has been dry for a while. (Rain will make the road slick with dirt and oil that have accumulated). But, you just need water. Thankfully most of the oil washes off after one day’s rain. Regardless, wet roads are dangerous— whether it is raining or not. 

Often danger comes from limited visibility. Be safe, drive smart. Check out  these 4 driving tips for driving in rain. 

1. Turn on Headlights

Day or night, keep your headlights on while driving in rain. In many states, laws require headlights during rain or whenever visibility is less than 1000 feet. That is about a quarter of a mile or three and one-third football fields. 

2. Newer Tires, Awesome Breaks and Wipers

·         Threadbare tires are dangerous. Keep your traction at top performance. Maintain relatively new tires with deep tread. Or, get some all-weather tires. This should help if you hydroplane. 

·         Get regular brake checks.

·         Keep your windshield wiper blades ready for rainy days—before the rain comes. 

What to do if you hydroplane? 

·         Ease off the accelerator and continue driving steadily forward. 

·         Do not slam on the breaks.

3. Don’t use Cruise Control

Rainy weather demands full attention. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your feet ready for action.

If you hydroplane, cruise control can cause you to lose control. And, if you do hydroplane, the lack of traction may cause the cruise control to accelerate. 

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4. Drive Smarter

Smart people adjust their strategy around changing conditions. Weather is one of those things. Driving in rain or any inclement weather be careful and pull back: 

·         Keep your distance. You never know when the person ahead of you will spin out. 

·         Do not tailgate—especially in limited visibility. 

·         Slow down. Take corners slower. 

·         Be patient. Expect extra traffic. 

defensive driving class will help train you for dangerous driving conditions. Techniques and car maintenance keep you smarter on the road, whether driving in rain or any conditions. 

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